November 25, 2013

A Moment in Life One Never Forgets...

is the time one is handed their very first Oreo. It is a right of passage. A symbol that one is loved. One will never be the same again. Since it is the time of year to be thankful; I am thankful that I have lots of children to share a package of Oreos with because otherwise I would eat the entire package all by myself. Which also means I would need a gallon of milk all of my own too because one can not have an Oreo without a glass of milk.

The big kids are at Auntie and Uncle's house tonight having a sleepover so I decided the little kids need something special too. Paul couldn't believe I was sharing and he thought I was crazy since he knew they would be messy. I already needed to wash the floors (they were disgusting!) so some added stickiness was not going to give me an added task and it was bath time immediately following dinner so there was no better timing. I did not hear one bit of protesting from any of the four except when someone was taking too long with the sippy of milk. Next time we will teach them the art of dunking the cookie into milk and pulling it out at just the right moment before it is lost to the bottom of the cup but that may have to wait until the next package lands mysteriously in my shopping cart because I am not sure if mom and dad are up for sharing anymore of this package.
"No Mom, I have nothing in my mouth. What would make you think I do?"

I will be doing a day in the life post soon. Our amazing photographer & friend, Monica, came to our house for an afternoon back in August and spent about 4 hours with us to capture what life is like with 7 kids, age 5 and under. I thought it would be a good time to answer any questions you may have. So if you have anything you would like to know about us or how we do certain things ask away!

November 20, 2013

15 Month Update

My babies are growing into toddlers right before my eyes. You are getting taller, you are figuring out cause and affect, you think you don't always need your naps but you forget that mom does need them, you have figured out that you have a playmate in your sibling. You are so much fun these days yet you totally wear your mom and dad out. You demand so much more of our attention. There are some days I long for the sleep deprived state of last year because even though I knew you got up to eat every 3 hours which was a total production at least I knew that after the 45 minute whirlwind you would sleep for 2 hours. During those 2 hours I would pump but I also could get my other tasky things accomplished. Now I am lucky if I have time to clean your breakfast trays before I have to serve you lunch. You do not think highly of mom having to cook, clean or anything else that does not involve sitting on the floor playing with you. And talking about meal time...having four babies the same age is not bad. I love it and would do it all over again in a heartbeat but meal time I am ready to do away with completely. You all eat a ton of food so the eating part is not the issue. Just this morning for breakfast the four of you polished off 5 fried eggs, 2 large pancakes, 5 slices of ham, about a cup of cherrios and the same amount of craisins, and 3 8oz sippy's of milk. It is crazy how much you eat but you have also started the game of throwing your food off your trays if you do not like something. I am so tired of cleaning the floor. It really gets old quickly and I so wish Bailey was still here. That girl would weigh more than ever because of all the floor cleaning I would let her do. There are days I purposely serve food that is easy to clean with a broom because I just can't do the whole floor scrubbing thing again. I am hoping this stage is a fast one otherwise we may be eating outside under a heat lamp this winter.

About as good as it gets trying to take a picture of four 15 month olds by myself.

You are all getting closer to walking and I am excited to start having some wobblers cruising through the house like only new walkers do. Check back with me in about 8 weeks and we will see if I am still enjoying four really mobile kiddos. Rylan you have taken a couple steps by yourself and want to walk so badly. You spend most of your time playing with your toys while standing. Tate you also love to walk while holding on to the hand of a mom, dad or older sibling. The minute we try and have you walk to us though you sit right down. Isabella you LOVE being praised when you stand independently. You will stand next to me and stand straight up and then fall all while I am telling you how good you are doing. You can not get up fast enough to be praised again and if I happen to be paying attention to another kid you will yell and giggle yourself so that I know that you did it again. Kenzie you enjoy pushing the kitchen stools around the house so we know you can walk but the minute we try to walk with you while holding your hands you won't put any weight on your feet. Walking would mean we are not carrying you and you like nothing better than to be held.

They often all need to play with the same toy at the same time. Finest of the fittest around here.

They are good at sharing their toys, sometimes.
Naps are not for you and you like to keep your brother up during them. You also have figured out that if you scream like you have been hurt we tend to check on you. I know it is a game but I am worried that one of these times you will actually be hurt and so I do tend to peak in on you which means nap time is over. You love to play and only need to occasionally come hang out on mom or dads lap. You are the trouble maker and Mr. Mischievous. If something can be opened and contents thrown every where you will find that place. We now have zip ties and rulers keeping kitchen cabinets closed because I was tired of cleaning up after you. If we forget to "child lock" any of the cabinets you must have a radar because you are in them in no time. You have decided that all bath tub toys must be thrown out during bath even if they are filled with water. You are very good about throwing them back in once you have been dried off. You also have been known to crawl back into the tub fully dressed while the water is draining. You thought you were pretty cool stuff after that trick. Mom still can not figure out what to do with the colic in your hair. It drives me crazy every morning. You love to wrestle your sisters and brothers or any victim who lies on the floor. You make me laugh so many times throughout the day and at least one time a night when you scream for us to come get your pacifier even though it is often right next to you or even in your mouth. You giggle the second we walk in the room because you once again won your own little game.

My little peanut. Even though you are the oldest of the quads you should really be the baby of the family. You are the reason I can hardly get off the floor when you are awake because you have major issues if you are not sitting in our laps. Your sisters no longer can fill in for mom or dad because you only want us. I think you would be happiest if you could get tucked back into mom's tummy because that is how close you want to be to us. You have jealousy issues like I have never seen. If someone else happens to sit in my lap while you are sitting with me you have to make sure you are covering the majority of the prime real estate or you throw a complete fit. You think it is a game to take your socks off so you now even sleep with shoes on for nap otherwise your feet get so cold. The minute I put your sock on you look at me, smile and reach for your foot to promptly remove the just placed sock. I have learned to be fast getting your shoes on. Because you are so tiny we dress you like you are spending the nights in Antarctica. You sleep with a onsie, babyleggs, socks, and a fleece sleeper. Talk about adding more laundry to mom's already huge laundry pile. You have started trying to lift yourself out of your crib. I have a feeling you will be climbing out before you even walk. Somehow in your tiny little body you have an amazing about of strength.

You are a very content little child. Unless you are hungry you will happily play with whatever toys are available to you. You love your meal times and often clean up any leftovers the other three leave. You do have trouble eating goldfish and drinking liquids and tend to chock more on these two things. You continue to roll your 'r' with crying and mom and dad can not figure out how you do it. We often get this when we take you out of the bath tub each night. You love your bath. I think you out of all the babies have changed the most in looks since being a baby. You have become such a happy, smiley baby. Your smile is so big and I love seeing your one little dimple. Reading books is something you could spend hours doing. You really like the touch and feel ones and get irritated with your brother, Rylan, who is constantly trying to change the page. I love getting you out from your crib because you are always happy to see us.  

You have been a little stinker the last couple of weeks. If I was one to end the evening with a glass of wine I think you would have given me reason to drink the entire bottle. There have been days you have been unhappy from the minute your eyelids opened til we tucked you in at night. Even naps you boycotted and screamed through. Motrin didn't even help so We are thinking it was just you trying to work through the next stage of life. You have taken after Kenzie and like to spend a fair amount of time cuddled with mom or dad. Even if it is just lying your head in our laps. If you are not hanging out with us we will find you in the bathroom stealing toothbrushes and playing happily. Drew loved toothbrushes too and so we think it is funny that we have another child who thinks toothbrushes are the coolest thing since sliced bread. You start crying the minute we catch you because you know they are going to be taken away from you. You are the first one to say the word 'momma' and use it appropriately. When I got home the other night and came up the stairs while you were in the bathtub I heard "momma" after I said I was home. It made me so happy. Peekaboo, blowing kisses and clapping your hands are tasks you have mastered. You are also awesome at giving opened mouth sloppy kisses and there is just nothing better.

Even though some days I would give anything to be lying on the beach with a book and not a single thing on my to do list, I am reminded each night when I see my four babies stretched out in their cribs that time goes so quickly. It has only been 15 months since you have been in our life but I really can not imagine our family without you. Sometimes I wonder what our life would be like if only one of you would have taken and I seriously know we would have been incomplete with only four kids. I was asked this morning what it is like to have to take four babies out in the rain and I had to stop and think for a moment because to us it is just normal. For a long time I felt our life was two separate families; mom, dad and the big kids were one and mom, dad and all seven kids were the other. Somehow over the last 15 months we have blended into one. Over that same time I no longer am surprised when I say I am a mom to 7, rather I feel it is totally normal to have a house full of kiddos. When I first found out I was expecting quadruplets I had many days wondering how we would do it but in the end everything works out and somehow you end up with 4 babies who are heading towards being a year and half. Time goes fast and I am so glad my kids are going to stop growing when they hit 6!! I love you my babies.
Not sure why there is no thumbnail on the video but a taste of life with four 15 month olds.

November 15, 2013

NICU Days Are Over But Forever A Part Of Me

There is a video going around on social media the last couple of days and today I sat with Drew on my lap and watched the six minute video and during those 360 seconds I was back in the nicu with my own four little miracles. We have been out of the nicu for over a year but instantly I can be right back in there. Those were some of the most amazing, happy times but  also some of the scariest and hardest of my life.
Our 4 babies all together in the nicu
Kenzie was 24 hours old when I got to hold her for the first time. It was over 36 hours before I ever got to see Isabella without a hat or contraptions on her face. Tate was the first one I got to see clothes on. Kenzie was 2 weeks old before I got to see her in clothes. Rylan was 24 hours old when I saw how much hair he had and at the same time that I was marveling over his hair I was praying to God to let me get the opportunity to hold my son as he struggled to take each breath.
Kenzie was the first baby to be held.

The first time I saw Rylan's hair was after he was intubated.

Tate was the first to be dressed at 3 days old.

The famous bili lights.
I knew the quads would have nicu days from the moment we saw four beating hearts on ultrasound. I was a nicu nurse and I thought I knew what it meant to be a nicu mom. In the end I had no clue. I remember the evening of August 16th like it was yesterday. The babies were a week old and I had just gone out to the trailer in the hospital parking lot that I was staying in. I had yet to hold Rylan in my arms but had held everyone else. I was grieving. I wanted the nicu journey to be over but I knew we had so far to go. I was a women who was having the biggest drop of hormones ever after giving birth to four babies. I was alone and not just because Paul had gone home to our other children but because I had no one to turn to that would understand what it was like to be a nicu mom. My mom had never had children in the nicu, Paul was a dad but not a mom, and none of my close friends had ever gone through what I was facing. I did have one group of women though that totally got it. My quad momma group and within minutes of crying out to them I had so many moms that responded who understood. A couple minutes later my phone was alerting me that I had a new text message. It was from one of the nurses who I work with but more importantly she is a mom to quads. As I read her text I knew I would make it through the nicu days. That they would not last forever. And that there is a bond that brings all nicu moms to the same understanding. That night as I laid alone in the trailer, knowing I could not go back up to the nicu because I was an emotional wreck, I watched the video of the quads birth and cried until my pillow was soaking wet. The next morning I was ready to fight the nicu battle and that is the day I held Rylan, my Baby D.
Many hours spent looking through the portholes.

Nightly weights become an obsession to nicu parents to see how many grams their baby gained. Thirty grams equals a whole ounce and that is huge in the nicu world.

First time holding Tate.
When I was getting ready to go back to work after the quads were born I wasn't sure I could go back and be a nicu nurse. The reason being is because I knew what the moms' were going though leaving their children every single day, watching them through isolettes and being told when it was okay to touch their baby's hand. A year later I can tell you with certainty that I am a better nicu nurse because of my experience as a nicu mom. My knowledge and skills are the same but I have now sat at the bedside and watched my babies through portholes. I have longed to hold my baby and see their face. I understand that breast milk really is gold to someone who is not producing enough to feed their baby/babies. I have always been one to make sure my bed spaces are cleaned up, that that babies who can be dressed are in cute clothes and that lips are cleaned of milk. These simple things show parents you care. But I now know the importance of that first skin to skin experience between a mom and her child. I understand making the phone call to see if a mom is planning on coming in to nurse her baby instead of just giving the baby the bottle which is sometimes faster. I know the joy of being the parent giving their baby their first bath. I also know how special those first pictures are of mom, dad and baby.
Kenzie holding her daddy's finger during a cannulaide change.
My Rylan still waiting to be held by his mom.
Skin to skin with Isabella.
Kenzie's first bath.

Daddy & Tate
I would never wish a nicu stay for anyone but if you find yourself in the new role of being a nicu mom or dad just know that you will make it through. You will have good days and bad but in the end you will be stronger than you ever thought possible. Once you are a nicu parent you will be part of an amazing group of people who share the same joys of the first bottle, the call that your baby is going home and the feeling of walking out of the nicu for the last time with baby in hand.
Finally!! My heart was so full as I held my baby #7.

Kenzie dressed in clothes at 2 weeks.

Heading out of the nicu for the last time.

November 03, 2013

Ghost, Goblins & A Scrooge

Halloween seems like a thing of the past but in actuality it took place only 5 days ago so I really am not that late in writing about Halloween of 2013. Ghost and goblins go right along with the 'holiday' that takes place every year on October 31. The thing that is out of place is the scrooge but he showed up two holidays early in the form of a mom that really found a disliking for everything that represented Halloween this year. In the past I enjoyed picking out coordinating costumes and buying our favorite candy way to early which meant having to rebuy the night before Halloween because mysteriously holes would appear in our first bags while sitting on the top shelf of the pantry. This year there was no said joy in costumes or candy for this momma.

Minnie, Spider-man, Hello Kitty
The thought of spending $40 per costume to wear for one Saturday costume party, one school costume parade and about one hour of trick or treating just didn't seem to fit in our budget because when you have 7 kids that totals $280 plus tax. I would much rather spend that money on gallons of paint for the kids bedrooms or new shoes for the big girls and the little boys or even a date night for Paul and I. Thankfully we ended up spending way less. Natalie did get a $40 costume from the Disney store but I did get it on sale and she being the princess she is will get a lot of use out of it. My house will also always have a sparkle to it with the amount of fine gold glitter that falls from it if even the slightest breeze catches it. Drew wanted to be Spider-man of course. Thankfully Costco and their amazing quality Halloween costumes came to the rescue and I think we spent $18 or so on his. This also means when Drew and the girls play dress up he has more choices than just princess dresses and tutus. Aubrey of all things asked to be an Easter bunny. Since we already had Scrooge at our festivities it seemed fitting to invite another holiday to join us. Aubrey's costume was totally free because it was one that my brother, sister and I all wore when we were about Aubrey's age. Grandma Pat is now on a mission to find pictures of all three of us in it. It may take a while because that was the day in which people actually had to take their roll of film in to print out pictures and then place them in a photo album for safe keeping. I am so glad digital pictures came around before I had kids! I decided to not go with costumes for the babies this year because I knew they would not be walking and again it didn't make sense to spend money on costumes when I knew they would spend the majority of time strapped into their strollers. I had seen a onsie on Etsy that I liked so I asked a fellow twin mommy if she could whip them up. She had so much free time she even made the girls skirts to go along with their 'Boo' attire. Yup she is a mom to six daughters and has time to sew, run, volunteer at every school function and host the most amazing themed parties at her house. I hope to be just like you Briana when I grow up.
Yup this is as good as I got on Halloween of a group shot!

This one was a little better at our local Moms of Multiples Halloween party.

And since we are talking about costumes let's talk about why boys, after they reach the age of 8, find the need to dress in costumes that scare little kids. Have you ever taken a child of 2 or 3 years of age out trick or treating? As soon as they see one kid with a full mask on the toddler can no longer walk and must be carried the remaining of the evening and will cry at every masked face that comes near them no matter how many times you explain that there is just a kid under it. Maybe I am being naive but I really don't think I will allow any of my boys to dress as zombies or other scary Halloween figures in the years to come. If they can't find a costume that is not scary to young children then they have reached an age they no longer need to go out trick or treating.

The morning of Halloween kids wake with an excitement that mimics Christmas morning. I feel especially bad for teachers on days like these. An hour of this excitement is enough for me and these poor teachers have 20-30 of these hyped up kids for an entire day. When the bell rings at the end of the day the first question they ask when loading into the car is can we go trick or treating? Those 3 hours of waiting for the sun to start setting takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r. And I think all moms fail in getting their kids to eat on Halloween but boy do we try hard to get something of substance into their bellies before the overdose of candy begins. Finally it gets dark enough, which this year took even longer than usual because of 'fall back' not happening until after Halloween, and we can finally tell the kids it's time.
School costume parade

Some mummy fun.

This is the part that really bothered me this year; we tell kids to go out and get all the candy that you can but tomorrow we are taking it all away! So pretty much what we are doing these days is spending a fair amount of money on candy because if you haven't bought bags of candy recently, it is not cheap. Kids bring it home. Sort it. Eat a couple of pieces before the sugar rushes kick in and the parents tell the kids it is bedtime. Then when the kids go to bed the candy is once again sorted by the parents and the majority of it ends up at mom and dad's work, dentist offices that pay cash for each lb turned over or other convenient candy drop offs. I am very lucky that this part of Halloween does not bother my kids at all. It was actually really cute when the kids got home from getting their fill of candy and finished their allotted 4 pieces we asked the girls to pick out what they wanted to bring to school to send to the military men and women. Natalie picked out about half of hers and placed it into a plastic grocery bag. Aubrey took her entire bucket and poured it into the bag and as she handed me the bag said, 'Here you go mom. They can have all of mine'. As we walked up the stairs hand in hand Aubrey in a very timid voiced said, 'Mom I know I said they could have all of my candy but would it be okay if I kept a couple of pieces'. These are the moments I just love the innocence of kids. We did keep a handful of candy in each kids buckets and they even talked daddy into a piece for breakfast the next morning before school but since then their candy has just sat on the counter. No one has really asked for any. No one has taken any without permission. They just really don't care about it. Tomorrow it will all be put in one ziploc and it will be given out as special treats here and there or a late night snack for daddy when he has a sweet tooth. Once the candy is placed into the ziploc bag Halloween is officially over in the Lesnau house.
Disclaimer: No wine was sipped by this 5 year old. She was just becoming grandma's best friend.

The loot.

Halloween I could do without you but since I know you will return next year and my kids really do enjoy you I will try to get out of my Halloween funk. I am going to try my hardest to find some awesomeness in Halloween of 2014. I think I am doing a pretty good job already because I do have coordinating costumes for all in mind. I am going to keep it a secret but if anyone has a scarecrow, tin man, lion or some red shoes they no longer need, feel free to send them.
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