Saturday, February 28, 2009

Let's Play Ball

Today, Jared attended his first practice for his t-ball team. Yes, we enrolled him in t-ball in the Chandler National Little League. He is pretty excited about baseball. Today, they practiced catching, throwing, hitting and running to first base. Paul took him to practice and the girls and I joined them a little later. Us girls were pretty excited to see our little boy/big brother out there practicing. The official start to the Little League season isn't until the end of March but the teams have to get in practice before the games begin. Then, they will probably have two games a week. Wow! That much for 5 and 6 year olds? It'll be cute. We'll definitely take some pictures of Jared's practices, games and him hitting and running. He did a great job today!

Jared wearing his team's baseball cap. FYI, Jared's team is the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Paul believes they use college baseball team apparel/colors to keep costs down, versus getting custom-designed caps and jerseys made for each team. We should get Jared's jersey this week. Won't he look like a cute little ball player ;)Jared wearing his batting helmetWe have about 7 practices scheduled before the season and games begins. So...let's play ball!
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nine!

Wow, oh wow! It's been NINE years since we've been married. Wow again! How can that be? How did we get to nine already? It feels like two, maybe three or four years. But not nine. A lot has changed in those years, especially in the last five years. I think I've heard folks say "once you have kids, time really does fly by." I agree with that observation.

Last year we spent our 8th anniversary in the Good Sam Hospital. What fun ;) I think I ate my lunch meal in my hospital room, Paul and Jared had lunch downstairs in the cafeteria and then the three of us shared "dessert"...a candy bar purchased from the gift shop downstairs. Ha! We took our usual wheel chair ride down stairs to the hospital's outdoor garden area and shared our treat there. But not this year! Thanks to a volunteer friend of ours and her sisters (thanks Stephanie R!!) the two of us are going out this weekend for an anniversary dinner/date. Yay! Dinner out, just the two of us! Or...I guess we could go back to Good Sam's cafeteria with Jared (and the girls!) and have dinner there? Ha! :D Um...no.

We praise God for the last nine years! Thanks to Him for bringing us together and for giving us the strength, patience, love and respect in our marriage!!
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

One week and counting!

We have one week left and then the girls will be ONE...YEAR...OLD! Ack! I still cannot believe it. Seriously! Some folks have asked us "so, has the year gone by quickly? or not?" I have to say "both." In the beginning, in those first 3 or 4 months (those tiring, sleepless, feed-every and pump-every-3-hours months), it was slow. I mean time went by s-o...s-l-o-w-l-y. I thought "man, are they ever going to get bigger? roll over? crawl? hold their bottles? are we ever going to get out of this haze??" Then, between months 5 to now time has gone by fast. I feel like I have just turned around and am now looking at some big toddler girls. Ack!! Just take a look...

Then...Suzan, Anna, Bethany and Brielle at 3 months oldAnd Now...Suzan, Anna, Bethany and Brielle at 11.5 months oldMan! I tell ya. They do grow like weeds :D
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"4-titude: 4 sets of quads born at same hospital"

In case you missed it this morning, The Today Show interviewed 3 of 4 families that each delivered a set of quads at Good Sam Hospital here in Phoenix, all within 6 weeks. Here is the ariticle transcript. We met with three of these families when they were pregnant...the Crisantis, the Lambes and Dafna and Eli.

Good Samaritan Hospital and Phoenix Children's Hospital and NICU, along with Dr. Elliot and the many other perinatologists at PPA, are the best when it comes to taking care of high-order multiple (HOM) pregnancies. I can't say enough good things about them. We feel SO blessed that we live in AZ and were able to be taken care of the doctors and nurses of these excellent hospitals! It definitely is a God thing that we live in AZ and that all of the excellent HOM healthcare is here. Praise God that He decided to have us live here in AZ! Praise God for His perfect plan for us!!
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

1 Corinthians 13 for Moms

Yesterday I attended a friend's baby shower and her sister-in-law (all credit to her for finding this!!) read this beautiful mom's version of 1 Corinthians 13. For those that don't know 1 Corinthians 13 it is usually referred to as the "love chapter" in the Bible. The Apostle Paul talks to us about what it means to love, in God's eyes. It's a wonderful chapter of God's Word, full of much wisdom and truth about love.

So for all of the moms out there, here ya go. A mom's version of 1 Corinthians 13 (Adapted from James Fowler).

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place,
but have not love,
I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker.

If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements,
but have not love,
my children learn cleanliness, ­not godliness.

If I scream at my children for every infraction,
and fault them for every mess they make,
but have not love,
my children become people-pleasers, not obedient children.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.

Love accepts the fact that I am the ever-present "mommy,"
the taxi-driver to every childhood event,
the counselor when my children fail or are hurt.

Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, and runs with the child,
then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.

Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection.
Now I glory in God's perfection of my child.

All the projections I had for my house and my children
have faded away into insignificance,
And what remain are the memories of my kids.

Now there abides in my home scratches on most of the furniture,
dishes with missing place settings,
and bedroom walls full of stickers, posters and markings,
But the greatest of all is the Love
that permeates my relationships with my children.
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Here kitty, kitty, kitty

Hey, we might have a new kitty cat joining our family. What do you think about this little kitty?
Okay, not really. I think this Jaguar would eat the girls like Tic-Tacs and Jared would be an hor'dourve :P We heard about this last evening on our local news. Did you know that we have Jaguars in Arizona? Yes, that is correct!! Jaguars! The Arizona Game and Fish Department captured, tagged and are tracking a 118-pound male Jaguar in the area just southwest of Tucson. Here is the department's article. That is just crazy! Jaguars in Arizona?! I would NOT want to meet this little kitty on a hiking trail...ACK!! :P
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Little Vampires

I was dreading this day. I didn't want it to happen. I thought maybe we'd escape from it. I thought "no, it won't happen to us." Now, it has happened. Uff! What am I talking about? Well...yesterday...Suzan...BIT Bethany! Ack! We have biters!! Okay, maybe one biter so far ;) Paul, Jared and I were eating dinner yesterday evening and the girls were playing in the playroom. All of a sudden a baby cried out and I knew it was a "pain" cry, versus a "someone took my toy" cry or a "i'm pinned by my sister" cry or a "where's mama? i know you're there mama!" cry. I didn't know what to expect when I ran to the playroom. What I found was Bethany on her tummy crying very hard and Suzan sitting up in front of her, just happily playing with a toy. Anna and Brielle were far away from these two, playing by themselves. I thought "what? what happened?" Then, I looked down and saw four little teeth marks severely indented in Bethany's right hand. "Oh no! Suzan bit Bethany!! What in the world?!"

Poor little Bethany's hand with Suzan's teeth marks :( (right above her knuckle)I said "oh no Suzan. no bite." She just looked at me with one of her funny looks she usually gives me. Poor Bethany just wanted Mama and was crying hard :(

I still can't believe Suzan bit her. How did she learn that? Where did she get that from? How did she even know to use her teeth in that way, to either defend herself or purposely hurt someone else? That's just crazy to think that! All I know is I dread any future biting from the girls and really didn't want this day to come. Now, I guess we'll need to be referees to the smackdowns that will occur and try to prevent any more biting from our little vampires ;)
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

You say tomato, I say tomahto

Oh! Jared and I are so excited! Last weekend we watched a recent episode of "Ask This Old House" on PBS. It was their annual "kids" episode which featured family-friendly projects that parents and kids could build together. In it Roger built a raised garden bed for vegetables. Well, Paul and I have been thinking for a while now to have a dedicated vegetable garden. I LOVE gardening. At our first house we had some big garden beds where we planted roses, annuals, pink tulips and hyacinths and attempted growing squash, watermelon and zucchini (which died :( ). I just love growing plants, flowers and vegetables.

So when we saw this episode of ATOH we both said "hey, what do you think of doing that? or at least trying to grow some veggies?" And that's just what we did! We (well, really Paul) dug up the dirt on the south side of our property and connected irrigation tubing to an available valve we had in our drip irrigation system. Then, Paul, Jared and I went to Home Depot to purchase 6 tomato plants. Woo hoo! Paul did some research upfront on who had a better tomato plant selection, Lowe's or Home Depot. Home Depot won. We brought the plants back, made a layout of where to plant each plant and we (again, Paul) dug some holes, planted the plants and connected spaghetti drip hoses to the "vegetable drip line." We are in business! Jared was very excited to be a part of prepping, planning, planting and finally watering our new tomato plants.

Our 6 little tomato plants
3 of themClose up of one of the Celebrity plantsJared helping by watering the plantsHe was a great little helper :DFor those curious what we planted we planted 6 Bonnie Plant tomato plants...2 Celebrities, 1 Roma, 1 Big Beef, 1 Husky Cherry Red and 1 Better Boy. Why tomatoes? Well, Paul's thought was to plant vegetables that are expensive or have a higher return. Tomatoes are pretty expensive in the stores, versus carrots, so we'll try to grow some. Hm...okay Paul. I can follow your logic :) Plus we both think we can grow tomatoes in Arizona (remember, we live in a desert here ;) ). We mixed a bag of Miracle Grow Garden Soil into our hard Arizona clay then topped it with composted mulch.

I was SO tempted to purchase more vegetable plants while at Home Depot. It's the green thumb in me, that God gave to me! Some other plants I found that would be fun were artichokes, eggplant, various peppers, sweet peas, corn (yes, they had little stalks of corn!) and strawberries. Mmmm! But...we're going to try our 6 tomato plants first, see how they do (and we do as vegetable gardeners!) then ponder planting anything further.

Hopefully, in about 2 to 3 months, we'll see the fruits of our labor...yummy ripe tomatoes! Check back later to see "how does our garden grow."
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One year ago - needing strength near the end

A year ago I had two weeks left before our four little precious girls would make their arrival. Wow! (now, it's two weeks before they turn a year old!!) A year ago I was nearing the end but my body and heart were heavy...heavy with the stress of carrying four babies, heavy worrying about how the girls would do in the NICU and thereafter, heavy about the BIG life changes awaiting me, my husband and son. It was during this time that I turned to the Bible, to God, for strength. He is the only one that could carry me, the babies, Paul and Jared through this. He is the only one that could comfort my heavy heart and body. He is the only one that could calm my worries and fears. So I went through my Bible and found verses that spoke to me. I knew God and His Word would give me strength.

Maria at 30 weeks and 2 days on 2/18/08 (a year ago). Man! Just look at that tummy!!I share these verses in the hopes that it would give you comfort. Everyone goes through a trial at some point (or many points) in his or her life. It doesn't have to be a quadruplet pregnancy in which you are being stretched physically, emotionally and spiritually. Trials come in many shapes and sizes.

Psalm 104:1 - Praise the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, You are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

Psalm 62:5-8 - Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Isaiah 40:29-31 - He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Luke 12:24-26 - Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 - But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Philippians 4:13 - I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

I thank God for His Word, the Book He left and gave to us to live and survive by. It's the best "help book" by far!
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Life with Quads, The 1st Year - "What keeps us sane"

Here's a second installment of our "Life with Quads, The 1st Year." You can read the first post of the series here.

I thought I'd share our thoughts on what has kept us sane in raising quadruplets the 1st year (plus a preschooler). Here are our top 16, in no particular order.
  1. Having structure and a schedule. See previous posts on our day with 2-month olds and our day with 7-month olds.

  2. Volunteer help from friends and family. A HUGE thank you to EVERYONE who has helped us with meals and with the five kids! We are SO blessed by you!

  3. Visiting with friends and family (this keeps Mama especially sane ;) ).

  4. Our church community, e.g. the women's Bible study meeting in our home when the babies were tiny, Paul meeting with the men once or twice, group get togethers.

  5. Getting out, either by ourselves (run errands, Mama attend MOPS) or together (one-on-one time with Jared, date nights for Dad and Mom).

  6. Going to church!! The girls are not attending with us, due to it being RSV/flu season, but we hope they will join us once we are free from "lockdown." Wow, that will be quite the trip/endeavor/outing/circus ;) !!

  7. PBS kids and TiVO. That way Jared can watch Word Girl or Curious George in the morning while we're feeding the girls.

  8. The little conveniences, such as washing our bottles in the Munchin baskets in the dishwasher, the sanitize cycle on our dishwasher, Boppies to feed the girls in.

  9. Having each other to rely on!!

  10. Our various quad equipment. Specifically our quad feeding table, Runabout quad stroller and the BHV (aka, Big Huge Van). LIFE SAVERS!! (despite my kicking and screaming to NOT get these items and NOT be a freak show - Ha! :D ).

  11. Getting a nap once in a while (more so for Mama, less for Dad :D ).

  12. Camaraderie and knowledge-sharing with fellow POM (aka, Parents of Multiples). Gotta love checking in with our friends with quads (via email or blogs) and with those on Triplet Connection.

  13. TV/veg/"decompress" time together at the end of the day. This didn't start, though, until the girls were about 5 months old.

  14. Play dates, pre-k school and neighborhood play time for Jared. That boy needs learning and playtime with his friends!

  15. Laptop/computer/blogging time :D

  16. The little fun things, especially for Mama (such as sewing/crafts/photography).
Hope you have a few sanity favorites of your own too.
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

1st Birthday Invites

Oh! Finally after days and days wracking my brain on what to do for the girls' 1st birthday (e.g. a birthday theme) I decided to go with Hugs and Stitches. A friend used this for her little girl's 1st birthday party last summer (thanks again Ashley!) and suggested it for us. I like it in that it has each of our girl's color, e.g. yellow, pink, green and purple. I wanted to include their "color" in their 1st birthday and this theme provides that. It should be cute, festive and fitting for our girls :D

With the theme decided I went ahead and made the girls' 1st birthday invite. Hallelujah for Photoshop CS! I love Photoshop, for designing things like this and for use in my photography! Here is the invite.I finished making their party hats too. Whew! I'm happy both their shirts and hats are now done! Woo hoo!

17 days and counting until the girls' turn a year old! Yikes!
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope everyone has a blessed Valentine's Day today! Ours will be surrounded by our five beautiful and handsome valentines :D

Jared, looking mighty cute and handsome, showing off his valentine and chocolates ;)Okay, now I understand why everyone was so impressed a month or so ago that I got a group picture of the girls. Now, at almost a year old, they don't sit still for a minute. Ack! It took me several attempts to finally get a decent group shot. They are all just movers and shakers!

Attempt #1. Bethany and Brielle saying "mama, we don't have time to sit here! there's the whole world out there to explore!!!!"Okay, how about now? Attempt #2...nopeNow? Attempt #3?...nopeLet's see if you just want to go outside. Then, maybe you will sit still for mama? Attempt #4...nope'Cmon girls! P-L-E-A-S-E?!?!?! Attempt #5...nopeWhew! Finally, a decent one of them - Suzan, Anna, Bethany and BrielleAnd in case you were trying to read what is on their shirts (thanks Misty U, by the way!!)...Suzan - "lots of love"Anna - "my heart belongs to daddy"Bethany - "mommy's little heart breaker"And Brielle - "princess...if the crown fits"I have planned a fun Valentine's dinner for Paul, Jared and I. I thought it would be fun to make some pink heart-shaped pancakes, eggs, bacon and strawberry pink milk. We've eaten breakfast for dinner many times before but not with pink and heart-shaped food. I think Jared will like it. I am trying to keep it a surprise but he has already asked me questions..."mama, why is the pancake mix out?", "mama, what are we going to do with the food coloring?", "mama, are we making heart-shaped cookies? (while looking at the heart cookie cutter)", "mama, what is this pink stuff (the pink strawberry Nesquik)." What a nosey nose! :) My answer to all of his questions has been "it's for dinner and it's a surprise." Should be fun for him :D
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pebbles Carlson

Do you remember Pebbles Flintstone?

Well, we have our own Pebbles in the house. Two Pebbles, in fact!
AnnaAnd BethanyYes, I got some little hair rubber bands (the ouchless kind) and pulled the girls' hair up into a pony tail. Anna and Bethany were the only two that had long enough hair to do it. You know Brielle has a lot of hair (Ha! ;) ) but it's not long enough. And Suzan? Well, she's sporting some short 'do. Her hair still needs to grow a bit longer to get a pony tail.

I took lots of shots of the girls today. Here are a few (more are at our family's website).

Cutie pie Anna"i feel like squealin' mama!!"Giggly BethanyBrielle looking innocent"look at all of my toofers mama!" oh, and just call her "wild hair woman" :DSuzan, contemplating some big, thought-provoking question - "hm...how do they get that squeaker in that toy cow of ours???"Smiley girlThe girls are doing well. All are over their cold/infections. Woo hoo! I love happy, smiley babies :D They got their monthly Synagis shots yesterday. Lots of tears but our girls get over them so fast. Also, you can notice in some of the pictures that the girls have a lot of toofers. Each girl has at least 6 teeth, 2 on the bottom and 4 on the top. Anna has 7 teeth, as she has a third tooth on the bottom. Lots of chompers here!

Next month is their one year well-visit...and their 1st birthday PAR-TAY! We have it planned to be a small party (due to it being RSV/flu season), with a few close family and friends invited, but we're still going to make it a good 1st birthday for the girls. Ah, and their 1st birthday shirts are done. Woo hoo! I LOVE the way the shirts turned out!! Now, I just need to finish their hats.

They will be one year old in less than a month?? That's just crazy!! I still can't believe it!
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Sunday, February 08, 2009

At it again

Yeah, I'm at it again. "At what?" you say. Well, if you remember way back to October I decided to sew some Halloween costumes for the girls' 1st Halloween. "Ahhh, now I remember!" you say. So yup, I'm at it again...sewing!

I have decided to make birthday shirts and hats for the girls' 1st birthday. I was inspired by something I saw online. So today, while the girls napped and Paul played with Jared, I ventured to Joann's (can I just stop here and say how much I LOVE Joann's? LOVE IT!! really any craft store but Joann's has everything! second in my craft store book is Michael's. guess God just wired me to be a crafter ;) ). I am going to sew/applique shirts in each of the girls' colors, e.g. yellow for Suzan, pink for Anna, etc., etc. The birthday hats will be color-coded too. I think they will be quick to make but I could be wrong. I plan to sew them while the girls' are napping and Jared is gone to school in the afternoon. Ah, I hope the time set aside works!

I'm excited to see how they will turn out! Ah, but you will have to wait until the girls' 1st birthday to see the finished products :P Wish me luck!

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Silly Insurance

Don't get me wrong, I am VERY happy that we have the insurance coverage we have. But something funny and silly happened that made us laugh.

Recently, we had to get some prescriptions for the girls (poor Suzan, Anna and Bethany have ear infections as a result from a cold :( ). Today, Paul had to get two prescriptions of amoxicillin filled, one for Bethany and then one for Anna. Well, the pharmacist told us that our insurance company would not fill Anna's as Bethany's was already filled on the same day. What? Can you repeat that please? Apparently, our insurance thinks we are getting two prescriptions of amoxicillin for the same person, because they only look at the item dispensed and the birth date. Well, for Anna and Bethany those are both the same, amoxicillin and 3/4/08 (oh, and probably the same policy # too). Our insurance doesn't look at whom the prescription is for. Ha! Well, I guess they don't deal with a lot of multiples?? Maybe some of my fellow mommies of multiples have already experienced this. So, instead the pharmacist didn't run it through our insurance (or else he/she would have been on the phone with our insurance to finally get it approved...which is something we could have chosen to do) and it so happens that Walgreen's price for amoxicillin is $0.01 less than our copay. Hm...

Are we angry at our insurance? No. Frustrated? Nope. It's just something new and comical that we haven't experienced before. Ha! Silly insurance ;)
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