Friday, July 31, 2009

Alas! poor Pump. I knew you well.

**This is a post I never got around to posting. It's dated 4/31/2009.

Oh yes. The days of pumping for the girls are over. It has been an entire 2 weeks since I retired my pump. I feel blessed and fortunate that I was able to provide breast milk for the girls.

When pregnant with them I thought of grandiose ideas of nursing them all to about 13 or 14 months. I nursed Jared until about 13 months and enjoyed it so I wanted to do the same for the girlies. As it turns out, I did nurse the girls for the first four months but then came down with mastitis. Blech! :P I had it with Jared when he was about 5 or 6 weeks old. It's no fun! With mastitis I didn't feel up to nursing the girls so I just pumped. Wow, what a difference exclusively pumping made! I did enjoy nursing the girls BUT it was very time consuming. They were still little preemies and not as efficient of nursers as a full term baby. So I remember the times I'd nurse for 30 minutes, then have to top them off with expressed milk or formula (another 30 minutes) via bottle and then go off to pump (again for another 30 minutes). So it would take 1.5hrs! to nurse, feed and pump. Uff! Then only 1.5hrs left until the next feeding. So pumping freed up so much time for me/us. Was it difficult, emotionally, giving up the nursing? Yes. Did I/do I miss it? Yes, especially this being my last pregnancy/baby(ies) to nurse. But was I more at peace and less frazzled by exclusively pumping? Yes. Hey, you've got to do what you've got to do, I guess.

I started out pumping right away, when the girls were born. 8x day, even through the night. Oh man, does that bring back memories! I lived by my cell phone alarm. It would wake me up, dead asleep, to say "hey you! it's time to get up and get pumping!" I'm sure I must have slept through some of those middle-of-the-night pumpings :) By the time the girls were 7 months old I was pumping 5x/day, with one middle-of-the-night pumping. By about 8 months old, I dropped that 2:00AM pump and was just pumping in the daytime, 4x/day. Slowly, when the girls turned a year old, I "weaned" myself from pumping. I will tell you, weaning from a baby and weaning from a pump are very different. I think weaning from the pump is much more difficult, as it's not a natural weaning where the baby dictates how much milk is needed. Man was that difficult with the pump!

Now, I am happy to say that the girls got all that I could provide for them in regards to milk. Yay! Here are some calculations (which I always find fun to look and reflect back at :) ) over the last 13 months of pumping/nursing for the girlies...
  • I've pumped 26,506 ounces of breast milk! That's 207 gallons! WOW! And this doesn't take into consideration the ounces that the girls ate when nursing. WOW again! Just to put this in perspective, from WikiAnswers, "on average the commerical cow will give about 5 gallons per day." For me, during my "peak months," the most I got was a little over 1/2 gallon a day. I fall WAY short from Mrs. Guernsey, Mrs. Holstein or Mrs. Jersey ;) Although, I did still feel akin to them :D
  • I've spent 73, 500 minutes in pumping alone. That's 1225 hours! Or 51 days of my life spent in pumping! Over a month, almost 2, just in pumping alone! No wonder I felt so sleep deprived and tired, especially in those early months pumping through the night! ;)
  • I've nursed 25,200minutes! That's 420 hours, or 17.5 days of my life spent in nursing. I feel fortunate that I was able to even nurse quadruplets!
Wow, those calculations put a lot of this into perspective! I didn't realize how much milk I provided for the girls. Was it a lot to pump for them? Yes. Did I have times where I felt like "man, I want to give this up!"? Yes. But, would I do it all over again for them? Yes. And, I have to say, I couldn't have done it without the support of my husband, as pumping and nursing took much time and energy from me that could have been given to other areas of my life/family. Thank you Paul!!!!

I bid you adéu, dear pump. We had a good thing going. Thanks for your time and efforts and thanks for the memories ;)
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Target Toy Clearance

Thanks to a few folks (Jessica S and some folks on Triplet Connection) I was notified that Target is marking down all of their toys. In fact, it's was today. 75% off some toys, others 50% off. Apparently, Target does this twice a year, once in January and the second in July. So, today was the day for the July clearance. I took advantage of this and went toy shopping at Target this afternoon (Paul was home working while the girlies napped). I scored on some toys. Yay! This is a great way to get toys for birthdays and Christmas. $197 worth of toys for about $60 bucks. Sweet!

So, to all of you folks...go out and shop at Target! Now!! Before it's too late!!! ;)
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Bethany Walking 071909

Bethany has started to walk, by herself, in the last month or so. Yay girly! Now, we have Suzan, Bethany and Brielle walking all over the house. 3/4 of the girlies. Anna still has a ways to go when it comes to walking and that's okay. What a fun stage this is!

Bethany Walking 071909 from Pelikan on Vimeo.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Jared's First Day of Kindergarten!

Well, the day has finally arrived. Our little, baby boy is off to Kindergarten! ACK! He did great when we dropped him off. No tears from him; mostly from Mom ;) He said he wasn't scared or anxious about school. He was excited. And so are we! He is on a fun school, new friends, new things to learn. What fun! Almost makes me want to go back to school...almost, I said ;)

Here are some pictures of our time at the "meet the teacher" evening last week. We got to meet his teacher, see his new classroom and desk, walk around the school and meet other teachers, e.g. music and the librarian. We are SO blessed, I mean SOOOOO blessed, by our neighborhood school. It is a great school!

Jared's own personal desk. How cute is that?!?!Jared sitting at his desk. The bubbles were a gift from his teacher.Jared at the Kindergarten playground and where he and his class will line upJared at the drop off/pick upI thought it would be a treat to start some traditions for Jared, or our kids in general, starting school. We read a couple of "about school" books last evening at bedtime.Last time we were at the grocery store I told him he could pick out a special cereal for himself, to have for breakfast the morning of the first day of school. Some reasonably healthy cereal, mind you ;) He enjoyed the special breakfast this morning.After breakfast Jared got all ready for school! I think it was the first time he got ready quicker than quick, faster than fast! I got a huge grin on my face when I saw him come up the stairs wearing his new school clothes, shoes and backpack. What a big boy!BTW, I love the LL Bean backpacks. It is the Junior Original Book Pack. Very well made and appears to be durable. What's even sweeter is if you have an LL Bean credit card, which we've had for a long time, you get free shipping, free return shipping (if need be) and free monogramming. Sweet! Jared's polo shirts for school also came from LL Bean. Sweet again! ;)Then, we walked Jared to school. Whew, was it a bit hot! Hey, that's a steamy July summer morning in AZ for you ;) Here are pictures of the boy's first day of K!

Mom and Dad with the big Kindergartner!Jared at school!Jared getting help from his teacher, getting his back back in "line."Jared just checking things out on the Kindergarten playgroundTime to P-L-A-Y!First whistle! It means to "freeze!" Second whistle means to line up and get ready to go into the school. FYI, this is Jared's teacher, Mrs. L.Jared in line, going in to schoolBye Bud! Have a most awesome first day at school!Soon, I will go pick up the boy from school and hear how his first day went. Oh what fun to hear about it!

Oh, and thanks to everyone for the well wishes and prayers! We appreciate them!
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lowe's Build and Grow

**ANOTHER post for today? The third in a row? I KNOW! Well, don't expect this from me every day ;)

Thanks to Gert, friend and grandmother of a former school friend of Jared's, Eyan, she let us know about a very cool thing that happens on designated Saturdays at Lowe's. That's where Gert works. It is called "Build and Grow." Parents take their child/children to Lowe's and build a project. It usually takes 1 hour to complete and is free. The child gets a project kit, which includes all they need to build it, a work apron, safety goggles and, once the project is completed, a cool patch and certificate. How cool is all that?!?! So, when I saw Gert mention this I said to Paul "do you and Jared want to go and try this? you will be building a helicopter." So that's what they did this morning. They had much fun! So much fun that we signed him up for the next projects, building a powerboat and school bus.

Here are some pictures of the boy and his project.

Jared with his new Lowe's work apron. What a cute little builder :DThe certificate and patch he received after completing the projectThe helicopter. He made it an emergency rescue onePictures of the proud boy playing with his helicopterI encourage everyone to check out your local Lowe's for this program and take your child/children some Saturday morning for building fun. Oh, I should mention that they recommend ages 5+ and parental assistance is required. Paul said he almost lost some fingers holding the wood while Jared pounded in the nails. Ha! ;)
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Tile Project

Well, I attended another Girlfriends Divine Creations event this past week. My first time attending an event went so well I thought I would try it again. It was fun! It was a tile project. It was very easy to do. I just had to glue the tiles together, spray paint the fleur de lis black and glue it down and then peel and stick the sayings to the tile. Sweet! And only $20 again. Sweet again! :D Here it is, finished and sitting on an easel (I purchased at Michael's after the event for $10) on the perfect shelf in our stairwell area.

The sayings say "Remember Yesterday, Hope Tomorrow, Cherish Today and Love Forever"Close-up of the projectI think it's fun to get together with other women, make something cute and cool and sit back and enjoy some girl chat.
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Yogurt is my friend!

Jared said this this morning, when he was enjoying his morning snack of yogurt. What a silly boy I have :Dpost signature

Friday, July 24, 2009

Yummy Birthday Cake!

Tonight, Paul, the kids and I enjoyed some yummy birthday cake and ice cream. YUM! Not to make a public scene here or anything but it was some big guy's birthday in our home this week (ahem! Mr. Paul Carlson!). Happy birthday to you sweetheart!

Paul with his FIVE kids, Bethany, Anna, Jared, Brielle and SuzanA birthday card for Paul, made by MariaI thought it would be fun for the girls to join us for singing "happy birthday," watching the boys blow out candles and eating cake and ice cream with us. They were a bit intrigued by the singing and candles but really piped up when the cake and ice cream came out. Oh man! I don't think Paul and I could keep up with feeding the girls cake and ice cream. Lots of grunts and whining..."mom! dad! you are WAY too slow with the yummies! put the pedal to the metal and LET US EAT THAT CAKE!" Ha! It was too cute. Then, the sugar high craziness started with lots of baby girl squealing, blowing raspberries and wiggling in their seats. Too funny!

We also had a special dinner this evening. Sometimes we'll have breakfast for dinner, e.g. pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon. It's fun, yummy and something different for us. Well, tonight I tried a new recipe. A friend brought her version of this recipe to my Bible study this week. It was yummy so I wanted to search online for it and try it. It is French Toast Casserole, found at Recipe Zaar. It turned out great! Not too fussy and very good. We had it with maple syrup and then scrambled eggs and bacon as sides. Uff! A BIG breakfast dinner ;) Something special for that special occasion :D Try it!
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tickle Time!

Yeah, the girls (and Jared too!) are very ticklish. Makes for some fun tickling :D

Tickle Time! 071909 from Pelikan on Vimeo.

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Summer movies

We thought it would be fun and renew our subscription to Netflix for the summer. We had a Netflix account when I was pregnant with the girls. That way I could get some movies to watch while hanging out on our sofa or if/when I went in to the hospital ;) It was nice. Then, we canceled the subscription (plus our DirectTV) after the girlies were born, as we knew we wouldn't have the time or luxury to watch any TV or movies when we're taking care of our 4 newborns. So true! It has been WAY too long since we watched any TV, let alone a movie! We are out of touch on last year's movies ;)

So this summer we rented some summer movies for Jared, Paul and I to watch and enjoy. Jared has had fun watching his movies. All G-rated. I got him some oldies too, like "101 Dalmatians" and "The Jungle Book." Some of the old Disney movies are better than today's kids movies, in my opinion. Oh, by the way, did you know that "The Jungle Book" quotes Scripture? Wow, in a kids movie? I was watching it with Jared when I heard the quote from John 15:13. Here it is from the movie...

Mowgli: [to the unconscious Baloo, who just fought the tiger for Mowgli's sake] Baloo, get up. Oh, please get up.
Bagheera: Mowgli, try to understand.
Mowgli: Bagheera, what's the matter with him?
Bagheera: You've got to be brave, like Baloo was.
Mowgli: You... you don't mean... Oh, no. Baloo.
Bagheera: Now, now. I know how you feel. But you must remember, Mowgli. Greater love hath no one than he who lays down his life for his friend. [At this point, Baloo starts waking up, unbeknownst to Bagheera and Mowgli]

Just thought I'd mention that. Anyways, so here is what we've watched, so far, this summer. I've included my grading on the movies :D

  • "The Dark Knight" (rated PG-13) - Paul and I watched this. It was good, better than the Batman movies from the 1990s. I give it an A.
  • "Iron Man" (rated PG-13) - Paul and I watched this. Nice special effects. We like the recent movies based on the Marvel Comic books. I give it an A-.
  • "Wall-e" (rated G) - For Jared. We saw this with him in the theaters when it first came out (I think that was our last/most recent theater movie, back in 2008. How sad is that??). He asked to see it again. Always good. Jared's rating is a "thumbs up" and mine is an A+.
  • "Quantum of Solace" (rated PG-13) - Paul and I like the James Bond movies too :) Good movie. Some details, in my opinion, were left out. I give it a B.
  • "Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (rated PG-13) - I like the original "Indian Jones" series movies. This one, though, falls way short of those. Doesn't even compare to them. There were some very hokey parts in it. I give it a C-.
  • "101 Dalmations" (rated G) - For Jared. I remember this movie from my childhood. Still good. Jared liked it and the funny "bad guy" moments in it. It was cute when he quoted the movie :) Jared gives it a "thumbs up" and I give it an A.
  • "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" (rated PG-13) - Paul and I watched the previous "Mummy" movies. The first, original one is always the best and sequels are the worst. This sequel was not good. It's like they were trying to squeeze some life out of "The Mummy." Nope. I give it a C-.
  • "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" (rated G) - If you know Veggie Tales then you'll know this movie. A good kids movie, in my opinion, teaching kids about God creating heroes out of ordinary people and the heroes trusting in God. Jared enjoyed it...and I enjoyed the music :D We both give it an A+.
  • "Mamma Mia!" (rated PG-13) - I remember the commercials for this one last summer. Well, I should have stuck with the commercials. Not good. Okay, maybe the music was good but the acting and plot stunk. I give it a D.
  • "Fool's Gold" (rated PG-13) - Okay, I got this purely as a "Maria/chick flick" :D It looked like a fun, adventuresome movie from last summer. It was okay. A cute movie. Not much "meat" to it but more of a fluff or fun movie. I give it a B.
  • "The Incredible Hulk" (rated PG-13) - Another Marvel Comics movie. This one we both liked. Very cool. I give it an A+.
  • "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (rated PG) - This one we both heard of from last summer. It looked sci-fi'ish and interesting. The plot, based on Jules Verne book, is okay. Somewhat hokey. The special effects are cool. I give it a B -.
  • "The Jungle Book" (rated G) - A classic Disney movie. Very sweet, fun and full of cool music. Jared liked it and, again, was quoting the movie. Silly boy ;) We both give it an A+.
  • "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" (rated G) - a fun kids movie. I was sort of lost with the plot but maybe that's because I saw snip-its of it while feeding the girlies so I didn't get to watch it in its entirety. Very cool special effects. Jared enjoyed it a bit. We give it a B.
  • "Horton Hears a Who" (rated G) - Jared saw this with friends in the theater when it first came out. I have never seen or read the Dr. Seuss story. A good, funny movie. We brought it with us to our Flagstaff trip to watch one evening. He and I both liked it. We give it an A+.
  • "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" (rated PG-13) - I used to watch the series religiously. I think Paul watched it too. Well, this movie felt like an episode. It had a weird plot too. Unexplainable why they chose it?? It was alright. I give it a C.
  • "Live Free or Die Hard" (rated PG-13) - Paul and I have watched the previous "Die Hard" movies. This one was as good. Very intense and action packed. I like the plot of it. Maybe a bit far fetched but not too far. I give it an A.
  • "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" (rated PG) - We watched the previous "Cronicles" movie. This one was okay. I felt a bit "old" watching it, like teens or tweens should be watching it, but oh well ;) It was a good movie. I give it a B.

Whew! And that's about it! Wow, I guess we have seen quite a bit of movies this summer ;) But hey, it's been nice to finally get "caught up" on the last 2 years worth of movies. It's been also fun relaxing together or as a family enjoying a movie.

Now, I guess we might have to wait a few months or year to get caught up on this summer's movies, when they all come out on DVD. Yay for Netflix! :D

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Anna Climbing and Standing

Look what I found one day!

Anna Climbing and Standing 071909 from Pelikan on Vimeo.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

7 days and counting!

Wow, 7 days, 1 week, until our baby son, our first born, attends Kindergarten. ACK!! I still can't believe it. This time next week he will be sitting at school with new friends, a new school and a new teacher. He'll be having fun, learning lots and making new friends. He'll be there all day (7 hrs), eating lunch in the cafeteria and enjoying 2 to 3 recess times. What a new and fun adventure he'll be on!!
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Flagstaff 2009

DISCLAIMER! Another big picture post here ;) Yeah, I just took a lot while on vacation :D

It has been WAY too long since a family vacation. The last time we went on one was before I got pregnant with the girls. We went to ND in June 2007 to see Paul's brother get married and Jared was the ring bearer. It was a fun trip, as always, seeing Paul's family. Hm...might be a while until we can drive back up to ND for a visit ;) Then, we went nowhere in 2008 due to having 4 newborns in the house. So this year we decided the girlies were big enough to venture out of the homestead and go on a trip. We didn't go too far, just about 3 hrs up north. Ahhhh! The pine trees and cooler weather!

The girls did great on the trip, some crying on the drive to and from and it took them some getting used to the "home away from home." I was worried about them not sleeping as I have never had them sleep in pack-n-plays. Thank goodness they got over that transition and slept wonderfully! Thank you to Margo A, Jen H and Carrie K for letting me borrow your pack-n-plays. I only own one, from the baby Jared days, and needed three more. You ladies were lifesavers! Thank you again!!!!

We ventured out a bit on our vacation. We went on a rim trail at Walnut Canyon National Monument one morning and walked along a paved loop around the Walnut Canyon Lakes another morning. It was beautiful! God is so awesome in his creation! Then, in the afternoons, while the girlies napped, Jared had fun playing an Indian Jones Lego XBox game with Dad at the activity center and also got in some swimming with Mom, Dad and Grammy on the other days. Oh, and some miniature golf with Mom and Grammy too. Fun, fun! We also enjoyed lounging outside on the grass under the trees watching the rain clouds roll in and ate breakfast outside on the porch every cool morning. Ahhh!

I foresee family vacations being much more fun when the girlies get older/bigger. What fun!

Here are the pictures from our trip. Enjoy!

Gotta pack A LOT for a family of 7 plus a Grammy! 4 booster seats, because you know we can't bring our quad feeding table for the girlies ;) This doesn't include the cold items, like milk and yogurt, in the cooler....4 pack-n-plays for the girlies. Thank you again ladies!!...diapers and wipes for the girlies. Yeah, we still go through a lot :P...and a very packed van. Whew!Brielle, Jared and Suzan - "mama, we're ready to roll!"Grammy, Anna and Bethany - "all ready mama!"Almost there kids! Anna and Bethany, still awake during nap time. Oh well ;)Jared and Suzan in the vanBrielle in the vanWhew! They finally fell asleep! Yay!Anna and Bethany exploring the home away from home. Oh, and we packed lots of toys for them too :DGrammy, Brielle, Suzan and Jared exploring too. Jared loved the place. He was too excited about it.Ah, they feel right at home and are already stealing toys from each other - Ha!The girls' room. What a packed room with 4 pack-n-plays!Suzan waking upBrielle waking upAnna waking upBethany waking upA morning hiking the Rim Trail at Walnut CanyonGrammy with Suzan and AnnaBrielle at Walnut CanyonPaul, Anna, Suzan, Grammy and Jared at Walnut CanyonJared at Walnut Canyon. They also have a 255+ steps trail down into the canyon. That would be fun if the kids were older.Some fun flower pictures...Indian PaintbrushPink PenstemonPrickly Pear Cactus flowerBack "home." Brielle, Anna, Suzan, Bethany and Grammy playing on the grassBrielle checking out the dandelions in the grassSuzan getting a dandelion from GrammyAnna playing with one of those Velcro ball catcher toysBethany showing everyone her belly button - Ha! :DBrielleSuzanAnnaBethanyJared, Paul and Brielle playing badmintonPaul, Brielle, Bethany and Suzan all playing in the grass, enjoying the cool weatherJared, Paul, Brielle, Grammy, Anna and Suzan (Bethany hidden behind Brielle) out for a walk around the neighborhood after dinnerThe next morning, after breakfast, we went on a stroll around the Walnut Canyon Lakes area. So beautiful!Jared and Paul, checking out the lakeBrielle, Anna, Mama, Bethany and Suzan at the lakes. Yeah, finally me in a picture ;)More flower pictures...Indian Blanket...White Yarrow...and Yellow ConeflowerA mama duck with her 3 (I believe) ducklings. Yeah Mama Duck, I can totally relate to you there ;) Some "toddler" ducks swimming in the backgroundWalnut Canyon LakesBrielle and Anna at Walnut Canyon LakesSuzan and Bethany at Walnut Canyon LakesJared at Walnut Canyon LakesAnd Jared with a pine cone he picked upSo WE SURVIVED our first trip with quadruplets! Woo hoo!! There were some fun times and some so-so times. All in all, though, we had a good time! Jared keeps asking us if we can "go back there." How cute! Yes Jared, we think we can do that again, maybe next year :D
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