Monday, August 31, 2015

19 Month Update - Learning to Talk!

It seems like it hasn't been that long since I posted our 18 month old update. Oh, that's right. I was super duper late on that one, so I guess I should feel good that I'm only a couple weeks late on the new one. 

Things have been moving along fast and furiously as always. We moved very recently and I've been busy unpacking and getting our new home in order which is no easy feat considering I have four little "helpers" who can destroy a room in 0.001 second flat if left unattended for even a fraction of time. That said, we are finally settling in, boxes are all unpacked and now it's just a matter of slowly accumulating the finishing touches to make our house into a home. The good news is, we've  downsized into something much smaller, there's no stairs, and we LOVE our comfy new home and it's location that basically feels like we live in vacation.

The kiddos are doing wonderfully.  Every day is like a brand new adventure and I enjoy watching all of the new things and words they are learning. Each day it seems like they learn a new word or trick and it amazes me when I wake them up the next day and I can test them to see if they remember it and the do! Just the other day, Adam was working out of town so I was having dinner alone with the quads. As I sat across from them, prompting them to say "please" and "thank you" and watching them use their little forks as best they could, I was reminded of a time not so long ago when Adam worked out of town that I sat on the floor with them in their infant seats spoon feeding them and feeling so proud when they finally swallowed a bite of baby food that I had painstaking made for them. It amazes me that how much they now resemble little people and how far we've come from those early days.

We've dropped to one nap from two for the most part. Unfortunately, that one nap seems to come in the middle of the day and lasts much less than the two naps used to so it seems like I have to cram everything I can into those precious moments so that I can focus on them and teaching and playing with them when they're awake (on top of making sure they destroy everything in their path). The good news is, they usually go to bed around 7:30 and sleep until sometime around 8. We typically have three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) along with an afternoon snack. Because I still have a bunch of toddler formula, they also get a cup of toddler formula at bedtime as well. Toys that are the biggest interest are the ride on cars, Hot Wheels, the slide, and four new popcorn popper push toys that Grammy and Granddad took them to Walmart to buy on a short visit. They love the outside and will do anything to get to play in the water!

Practicing using utensils

Baby A - Baby A has become very interested in speech development. He loves to listen to animal sounds and repeat them back. His two favorites are the sheep's "baa" and the bunny's "hop, hop, hop". (They get an extra kick when we read a book about Nicholas the Bunny and Mommy shows them "hop, hop, hop"). He is most in love with toy cars and spends most of his days pushing them around the house making the "vroom" noise. Yesterday, while Mommy sent Daddy to the grocery store, I taught him how to push the cars down the Step 2 slide which provided hours of entertainment. Baby A is my tickle boy and will crack up laughing when I tickle him. He's also learned to give me kisses and hugs and will even do so unprompted from time to time. Baby A loves his brother and sisters so much. After breakfast this morning, he was busy cleaning up the leftovers for everyone when his sister (Baby D) and brother came over and started tickling his feet. He thought it was hilarious and didn't want to get out of the table because he enjoyed the game so much. Another love of Baby A's is our dogs. He loves to hug them and play with them. He'll take their toys and run with them in an effort to make them chase him. He was most of upset with Grammy and Granddad visited for a quick visit last week and their dog wouldn't give him the time of day!  His other current fascination is the cabinets and taking out mommy's pots and pans to make beautiful "music". Speaking of music, this guy's a fan! Anytime any music comes on, Baby A drops what he's doing and dances. Boy's got moves too! 

Good morning messy hair!

Baby B - Baby B is still the "mother hen" of the bunch. She keeps her brothers and sister in order and will definitely let me know if something isn't right. She has a heart of gold and if she sees one of her siblings upset, she will kindly bring them toys to try to make them feel better. Her current love is bead necklaces and putting them on and off. She will walk around in a diaper and a pajama top sporting her beautiful jewels and feeling glamorous.  She also loves her stuffed animals and has developed quite a collection in her crib. She loves to give kisses and will make kissy sounds to get me to kiss her when she's sitting on my lap. Baby B is such a helper. Currently, we get ready for bed in the boys' room and then the girls walk over to their room which is usually scattered with toys. Every night, she will help me pick up the toys one by one and put them into the toy box before we put her in her bed. Vocally, Baby B likes to say "hi" and "hey" whenever anyone walks into the room. She won't stop until she is acknowledged either! Her other favorite words are "Daddy" and "BB" (a pet name for one of our dogs). She also has started saying the phrase "take a bath" and on the visit from Grammy and Granddad, was able to say "hi, granddad" with a little bit of prompting from Grammy.

Sliding after some outside play in the water!

Baby C - Baby C is still fast and busy! He loves the slide, will climb up it any way he can, slides down on his own, uses it as a ladder to get onto the couch, and loves to push cars down it. He gets upset if his Dad leaves him for any amount of time and wants to be with him at all times. Over the weekend, Adam was washing and detailing the van and I took all four outside for a popsicle while Adam worked. It didn't take long before Baby C had climbed up in the van with him, was sitting in the drivers' seat and playing with every switch he could find. Baby C's favorite word is "uh oh" which can also be turned into "oh, oh, oh". He also likes to say and wave "bye, bye" and is a fan of the word "go". Last week, I took all four with me to Target (because Target has shopping carts that are more accommodating than most of the carts in town).  Baby C pitched a fit that he was not the one who got to ride in the basket part of the cart so I finally gave in and let him have a turn. He no longer has that privilege because it made my trip a nightmare. Everything I put into the cart, was promptly inspected and then "tossed". I spent the majority of the trip picking up items that were thrown and am now the proud owner of numerous dented cans thanks to my handy helper! Baby C is a fan of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and will now actually sit and watch for several minutes before he's distracted by his toys or anything else he can find!

Ice Cream - I kind of like this stuff!

Baby D - Baby D is the comedian of the group. She's got an awesome smile and has learned to pose for the camera too. She loves to climb on the furniture and has given her mommy a few mild heart attacks. It's basically the cutest thing ever to watch this little girl walk around in her little footed pajamas swinging her arms and looking for what she can get into next! One of her favorite things to do is to help me unload the dryer. One by one, she pulls out every single article in the dryer and hands it to me so that I can put it into the laundry basket. It's a time consuming chore but seeing her heart so happy and feeling so helpful is worth every single second. Her favorite toy is her dolls and her favorite thing in life is her yellow blanket. She can't leave her crib without it in the morning and she can't go to sleep without it. She basically reminds me of Linus dragging the blanket around the house morning, noon, and night. The threads around the edge have already frayed and had to be removed so I'm starting to grow concerned about how long the blanket will be with us. Baby D finds delight in pretty much everything. She had the best time ever when Granddad wanted to take them for ice cream and he shared a banana split with her. She's also busy learned new words but not knowing words doesn't stop her from having full blown conversations with anyone and everyone. This little girl LOVES to talk! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

18 Month(ish) Update - We're all walking!

Fourth of July Parade - Round Top, TX

I'm very behind (what's new?). It's been a while (again) since I last posted and so much has changed. I've actually drafted several blog posts but by the time I got around to actually publishing them, it was a little late and I felt like I should just go ahead and write a new post. In fact, this original post was actually done a day or so ago and in the time between drafting and proof-reading, we have even more growth and development!

My last published post was about Adam losing his job in the oilfield. I am happy to report that he's since found employment but we haven't been without struggles. Most importantly, we have learned some very hard lessons this year about sacrifices and savings and therefore, we are making huge changes in our lifestyle. I'm sure I'll blog about that more later.

Today's blog is an update on where the babies are at developmentally at 18 months for posterity's sake.

We've had a summer of firsts. 

Quadller Antics

Baby A - Baby A has been walking for several months. He's also working on his vocabulary with phrases like "what's up", "what's that", and "bad dog" not to mention the favorites of "Momma" and "Daddy". (Can you tell what he hears a lot in our house?) He also knows that sheep says "baa".  His favorite foods are anything that doesn't eat him first! Seriously, this kid is a BIG eater. His favorite toys are trucks/cars and he can often be seen pushing them on the floor making go noises. He loves to climb things and often tries (with no success thus far) to get on the couch by himself. He absolutely loves his siblings even though they do make him mad. One recent morning, his brother was particularly upset about something so I was trying to comfort him. Baby A, ran as fast as he could to his brother, gave him a big open-mouthed kiss followed by a hug and then put his forehead to his brother's forehead as if to say "I got you bro. It's alright". Water is a huge interest: he loves the beach, the kiddie pool, and yep, the bathtub! Baby A also loves music. When certain songs come on, he will stop whatever he is doing and dance. In the car, he almost always has his hands in the air and jams out to what's on the radio. 

Baby B - Baby B spent most of the summer walking around on her knees. In fact, the only time we could get her to walk on her feet was when one particular therapist came. She was able to convince her to walk on her own or holding hands but Baby B when I would try to walk with her, her legs would suddenly "break" and go limp. A favorite was to walk was using the giant exercise ball that we used for occupational therapy to push while she walked. About a week after turning 18 months old, I was able to finally get both girls to walk unassisted. On the same day. They say women have to do everything together...I guess our girls are no different when it comes to milestone. Baby A loves stuffed animals more than anything else. She has a collection of them amassed in her crib and she loves to pull them out one by one. Often, she'll be spotted dragging them around the house along with her favorite blanket (which she stole from one of her brothers). We've also found where one of her "bunnies" took a swim in the toilet. While Baby B thought said "Bunny" could swim and go, she was quite distraught when she learned that Bunny had to go through a full-service bath in the washing machine prior to returning to her side. She loves to wear pretty clothes and loves to wear her shoes. She knows how to brush her own hair. Her vocabulary consists mostly of "BB" (what we affectionately call our dog and she since has started calling all animals - real or stuffed), "no", "Daddy", "Mommy", "uh oh", 'hello", "hi" and "ball". Her favorite foods are cheese and fruits. She also loves most vegetables but will often leave meats on her plate and head straight for the fruit. She is not such a fan of the beach, but is warming up to it. She does however love the pool and on most nights, she's somehow able to be the last one in the bathtub giving her plenty of room to splash and laugh.

Baby C - Baby C was our first walker and is now an accomplished runner, spinner, and climber. He can climb in and out of the bathtub on his own. An accomplishment, but one that can be quite frustrating for his parents considering he even knows how to turn the water and the shower off and on on his own. (Don't worry, we keep the bathroom doors shut for this reason along with drowning of stuffed rabbits.) Baby C is quite possibly his Dad's biggest fan. He can often be spotted with his Dad working on projects in the garage or around the house and gets his feelings hurt if he's not including. Baby C's vocabulary consists of "no" (he hears that a lot), "Daddy", "Momma", "uh oh", "hello" (especially on his toy phone) and "Go". He also repeats phrases. There's a particular short we've grown fond of from Disney Jr. in which the chorus goes something like "Oh, oh, oh! You'll never guess what I put in the soup." (You can see the video here if you're really into it: We play with him often with the phrase "look what I put in the soup" and he responds with "Oh, oh, oh".  He also has taken to the movie Rio and will sing along to a song from it with the phrase "Hey, hey, hey". He still loves Mickey Mouse and is taken with turning on and off the TV (until recently, I honestly had no idea how to do it on our flat screen which we've had for years). Baby C, like most mean, is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He'll eat his veggies and fruits, but not near as fast as the  meat!

Baby D - Baby D is our perfectionist. She wouldn't even try walking on her own until she knew she'd get it right. She'd walk holding on to furniture, walls, etc but wouldn't try on her own. Then, the day that her sister started walking, she decided, "well, I can't be the only one still crawling so I better walk too." And that was it, she's walked ever since! Her favorite phrase is "Momma" but she also knows "Da da", "no", "shoes", "hi", "hello",  and "socks". Baby D is a great eater but her favorite food is probably cookies! Uh oh! Her favorite toys are baby dolls and she will hug them and kiss them. Baby D is definitely a Mommy's girl and loves to climb on Mommy's lap or try to convince Mommy to carry her. She loves to wrestle with her brothers in their cribs during our bath/story/prayer routine every night and she also loves to brush her sister's hair. Another favorite game is to get in the dresser and take out all of the clothes Mommy has matched together in pairs and carefully folding and throw them out all over the room. She also loves the water and has no fear of the beach. We have to keep a very close eye on her at the beach because she will take off in the water if you aren't watching. She loves to swim! 

As for us as parents, each age comes with new challenges and new rewards. We're now officially entering the toddler phase and if I'm honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I honestly thought the newborn phase was tough at the time going on essentially three hours of sleep a night in one hour spurts was brutal, but honestly, those days seem like a cake walk compared to chasing after four toddlers. Our therapists have told us that while these "throw myself on the floor" temper tantrums may seem brutal to us, they're actually very good developmental milestones indicating that each of them has the ability to recognize their frustrations and take any action is a good thing. I choose to focus on the blessings of each age and try hard not to "wish away" any single day with them. As I watch many of my friends whose "babies" are getting ready to start high school, or graduate high school, it's hard not to think about how fast the moments will go away. I'm having a hard time adjusting to calling them "quadlers" (coined word for four toddlers) versus "babies" and often find myself looking back at pictures of them since birth and thinking how fast it all (including the pregnancy and NICU time) has flown by. As our life seems to be coming back online, we are settling into much more of a routine and adjusting to being able to get out and do more with them after spending the greater part of the last year and a half confined to indoors activities out of the sheer logistics of leaving the house with four infants in tow! But just like one of my favorite summer TV shoes, I'm quickly learning that in this quad life, you've got to "expect the unexpected".

This is how you handle quad lunches at the mall when there aren't enough high chairs!

That's all for now but I look forward to hearing from you guys and posting more soon!