Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Personality

Hello Again!

Many folks have been asking about the personalities of each of our five kiddos.  I've included some videos below to show you how these sweet babies are interacting with each other and us.

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Clara and Luke talk to each other during tummy time.

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Luke talks to Jess, one of the au pairs.

Millie LOVES her "screen time."  Here she is watching Swedish cartoons with Jess.
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Millie and Clara wake up from their naps and chat with each other.

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Izzy and Millie hang out together in Jess' bed.

Another fun event came this month.  Our dear friend and wedding photographer, Jack Looney, came to take family photos for us.  I had such a wonderful time designing the outfits for the quints to wear. A major thanks to Elizabeth Culpepper and Cotton Blossom Embroidery for the adorable ensembles.  

Ava, Clara, Millie, Luke, and Izzy

Ava, Clara, Millie, and Izzy.  I love Millie's thumbs up in this photo!

Our sweet (oversized) nursery

Ava, Clara, Millie, Luke, and Izzy

Isabelle loves her Daddy time

Millie snuggles Mom

In other news, Clara went to church!  We loved dressing her in some of the outfits my sister's daughter, Emma Kate, has worn in the past.

Clara can certainly rock a bonnet!


Finally, as we all relaxed on Easter Sunday after a wonderful Easter meal prepared by yours truly, Ava and Clara enjoyed some sister time.  

Ava and Clara


Michael and I spent some time basking in the joy known as Isabelle Frances Baudinet.


I also managed to escape to the Homestead for a little mom's weekend.  My very good friend Carla went with me.  We enjoyed lattes in bed, lots of sleep, trash TV, adult coloring books, and great company.  I'm so thankful to all of those that helped with the kiddos (esp. Michaels sister, Bridget)  during my absence.
That's all for now!  Our four month doctor's appointment went just fine.  Most of the kiddos are approaching 13 pounds with sweet little Ava following behind at 11 pounds.    Happy Spring!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Who Do They Look Like?

Hello again!

Many of our friends and family ask us, "Who do the quints look like?"  Well, I thought we'd see for ourselves.  Here are some photos as Michael as a baby.



And here are some photos of me as a child.




And here are our kiddos.  What do you think?

Clara

Luke

Ava

Millie

Isabelle

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Learning to Live in the Moment



Hello Again!

I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to write.  This month has been full of firsts.  From smiles to head turns to sleeping in the nursery, we are making great strides!

Still, there are moments that I'm totally overwhelmed.  When five babies are hungry and we only have two adults to feed them. When the first baby I bathe poops in the bath water.  When I realize I haven't been alone in my house since August.  All of these things can overwhelm me, but I'm trying to learn to hang my hat on the good moments.  The smiles, the coos, the cute outfits.  These moments keep my spirit afloat.  The other night, Millie was working on her smile.  Here's her progression.








Of course, smiling is hard work, so a nap is a necessary recovery method.


Smiling came a little more easily to Clara and Luke.

Happy Clara!

Luke loves selfies with Jess!

Smiles really started to come for Ava when we allowed her a bit of naked time.


Michael's parents were generous enough to host a shower for us in Connecticut.  Since traveling is difficult these days, we Skyped in to introduce our new family to Michael's family and friends. This was one of the first times I played dress up with the quints and boy was it fun!



L to R:  Millie, Clara, Izzy, Ava, and Luke


Izzy pretty much slept through the entire thing, but she loved cuddling with her sisters (see far right).



Luke quickly grew weary of all of this drama.


We were also happy to welcome Michael's mom's cousin, Terri, to meet the quints.  Millie especially loved her girl talk with Terri.


We were also thrilled to welcome my sister, mom, and Emma Kate (my eight-year old niece) this weekend.  The quints LOVED Emma Kate and her mom, Leigh Leigh!



Lastly, my friend Mairi hosted a little get together this weekend to officially welcome the quints home.  Thanks to my mom, the kiddos were ready for their close up.  
L to R:  Millie, Izzy, Luke, Clara, and Ava


Millie and Izzy


Michael and I loved seeing our friends and family for this special day.  I certainly had a moment when I looked around and realized that THESE are my children and THIS is my life.  Yes, that life is overwhelmingly chaotic, but it's full of love, joy and the sweetest smiles I've ever seen.  

The one thought I'll leave you with is this.  Know that in this time of hate, fear, and judgment, know that kindness is real.  Love exists.  People can and do give without expectation of anything in return.  Their is beauty in love, forsaking all things and all others.  

We thank each one of you for your love and support.  Without our family and friends, we wouldn't have made it to where we are today.
From our days in the NyICU in Arizona...
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To our insta-family in our Virginia home!



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Four Letter Words

Sorry it's taken me so long to post an update!  We've been fighting the worst four letter word you can imagine--SICK.

About three weeks ago, our sweet Clara started out with a little cough.  At first we thought she was just clearing her throat, but when we took her to the doctor for her vaccines (ugh), they confirmed it was an upper respiratory infection.

Poor, Clara.  She wasn't herself.  She coughed.  She sneezed.  She cried.  She vomited. It was horrible.  We quarantined her from the rest of the kiddos in hopes that it wouldn't spread.  We even assigned certain people to care for Clara so they wouldn't contaminate the others.  We even put on t-shirts when caring for Clara and then took them off and washed them before touching the others.


Cuddling is the best medicine!


You must be thinking, "Wow--great work!".  Ha.  The four letter word then spread to Ava (insert another four letter word here that Mom would prefer I not use on the blog).  Poor Ava.   She coughed.  She sneezed.  She cried.  She vomited.  All while Clara did the same. It was terrible.  We hoped the worst was over, but then something even more unfathomable happened.  My mother in law, the caregiver in chief, got the sickness. Ginny was taking charge of the night shift and with her sickness, Michael and I would have to step up.  We did and we thought the had the sickness contained.

It was another three days before Izzy got the illness.  And again, sweet Isabelle wasn't herself.  She coughed.  She sneezed.  She cried.  She vomited.  She vomited so much that she began to wheeze and get dehydrated.  After a trip to the doctor, he confirmed that if Izzy continued in this direction, we would have to hospitalize her.  Needless to say, we were panicked.  We backed off to smaller, more frequent feedings and did a lot of praying. Thank goodness Izzy pulled through without hospitalization.  Unfortunately, before she recovered, she gave the illness to Millie who, in turn, gave it to Luke.  You know the drill....they coughed.  They sneezed.  They cried.  They vomited.  Just today I think we are turning the corner.  We've been sick for almost a month.  Oh my cow...how will I ever make it through pre-school?!

All while this was happening, we said goodbye to my mom and Michael's mom.  Our moms have been AMAZING.  They've cooked, cleaned, burped, cleaned poop/spit up, all while hardly sleeping.  We've been so grateful to have them as long as we did.
Michael's parents, Ginny and Charlie with the kiddos



My mom, Kaye, with Millie

My mom with Ellie and Isabelle


In saying goodbye to our moms, we say hello to our au pairs.  Can I just tell you how AWESOME they are?!  They're awesome.  We love them.  We welcomed Merle from Germany and Jess from Sweden two weeks ago.  These are no ordinary au pairs--they are superstar au pairs.  Already they've introduced us to German and Swedish food (mainly candy!), organized my kitchen, and loved on my babies.  They already feel like our family.  I can't say enough about how much we love them.  Here's Jess catching up on her reading.


In other news, we had an Ellie scare.  She's been a bit more desperate for attention (imagine that!), and she's been acting out.  Lately, she's been getting into the trash.  Well, late on Friday I found her vomiting uncontrollably in the family room.  After talking to poison control, and desperately calling one of our babysitter friends from down the road, I took Ellie to the vet to find out she'd eaten a tampon.  (Insert another four letter word that Mom wouldn't like).

The doctor said that since tampons expand in liquid, Ellie may not be able to pass it, so we may be looking at exploratory surgery.  You can imagine my stress level when combining this with caring for five newborns.

So, we kept a close eye on Ellie over the weekend (meaning I was on poop patrol). Luckily, things have improved dramatically and she's resting comfortably.  Thank goodness we avoided the surgery!

Ellie getting some much needed snuggles (and Dad getting some much needed rest)

The last milestone of note happened on Sunday morning.  Michael has been taking a major portion of the night shift duty (while working full time) and as a result, he's exhausted.  I got up for the 4:00 am feed on Sunday morning and told him to keep sleeping until more kiddos woke up.  Well, Izzy woke up first.  I fed her and changed her diaper.  She went right back to sleep.  Luke woke up.  He ate and burped well and just as I was about half way through, Ava woke up.  I put Ava in the Boppy pillow and fed her while Luke finished and burped.  I changed Luke while Ava sucked on her pacifier and then I finished Ava as Millie woke up. I got Millie started eating while I changed Ava and put her back to bed.  Just then, Clara woke up and I double fed Clara and Millie before changing them both and putting them back to bed.  I did it!  I fed all five kiddos!  And Michael got to sleep!  I felt like Mom, Ninja Warrior.  I floated on a cloud for about an hour and then realized how exhausted I was.

Just again this morning, though, I woke up for the 4:00 am feed.  Again, I told Michael to sleep until more kids woke up.  Well, Luke woke first and I fed him.  Followed by Izzy. Followed by Ava.  Followed by Millie.  Once they were all fed, changed, and back asleep, I woke Clara and fed/changed her.  As I sit here now, I've fed all five kiddos alone (again!) and I am feeling better about myself.  Maybe we'll make it after all!



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I Don't Know How You Do It

Greetings!

I hope everyone is doing well.  We are getting settled back in our Virginia home and my my, is it a different kind of normal.  The grandmas are still here helping us (God bless them!), but they will be departing soon as the au pairs arrive.

As you can imagine, with five kiddos, so many people will look at my insta-family and say, "I don't know how you do it!".   I simply smile and say, "Well, someone has to!".  I have the blessing and the curse of not having any children before I had five children.  So, I don't know what a "normal" nap schedule is like or how to only make one bottle for every feeding.  I simply don't have any sense or perspective at this point--and this can be good and bad depending on the scenario.

Since so many people have asked, I thought I show you a bit of the mechanics of what makes a quint household run.

As I said, we feed about every four hours with five bottles at a time, of course.  My mom (KK) is our "chemist" and makes the bottles several hours in advance.  Three of our kids are on one kind of formula and two are on another.  So, KK is mixing two formulas and measuring for each feed.  God bless the KK!  I'll assume this duty when our moms leave, and the au pairs will be a great help.



We also bought a new car!  This is the Nissan NV, also known as "Bubba" as in "Bubba Bus."  Bubba comes highly recommended to us from other moms of quads and quints.  The seats come out and in easily and at capacity it can hold 12 people.  Hopefully this will last us a while!



Feeding five hungry babies simultaneously can be challenging, especially with only two people.  With Michael now back at work, we have three women home with the kiddos full time.  This in addition, of course, to the amazing volunteers who have been coming out to the house to help hold babies and wash bottles.  If you are a volunteer, please accept my sincerest gratitude.  I'm definitely living day to day and you guys are such a welcome source of support.

But as I was saying, feeding can be tricky, especially if all of the kids wake up at the same time.  Typically four people do the 10:00 pm feed; then, two people will do the 2:00 am feed; and two people do the 6:00 am feed.  With the early morning feeds, the two people have to get creative (and quick!).  To help in this endeavor, Michael and I purchased two Table for Twos.  This product is a life-saver for moms of multiples.  I'll write more about this product later.

Clara and Millie model the Table for Two.


Other funny photos...a box of pacifiers?  You got it!




Collection of Rock N Plays?  Check.



Three changing tables?  Oh yeah.





Things are chaotic here to say the least.   Hope you guys are sleeping more than I am!