Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanksgiving Festivities Part 1

My deepest apologies for the long time between posts. We've had a lot of company and been very busy! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We did, and I hope to get some of the highlights on here, starting with the following cute pictures.

Uncle Clay, Aunt Carey, and Cousin Tyler came to visit the week before Thanksgiving, and we had a blast spending time with them. Tyler is crawling now and pulling up every chance he gets, so he was a little more fun for his cousins this time than he has been previously. Still the kids didn't understand why they couldn't tackle him or sit on him or bonk him on the head with toys like they do to each other! It was a little overwhelming for him at times, but he enjoyed watching his cousins play and crawling after them as then ran about. It won't be long before they are all on the same level and he can really keep up with them!

One of the highlights of the trip was the talking teddy bear that Uncle Clay brought. The kids really loved it!

Giving the bear some love!

I also want to wish a belated Happy Birthday to Uncle George! I swear I didn't forget your birthday! I have just been so busy I honestly haven't had time to post until now! We can't wait to see you at Christmas!

Jonathan thinks Uncle George's stories about how mistreated he is are hilarious!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Aunt Jodie!

We want to send out a great big Happy Thanksgiving Birthday to Aunt Jodie!

We wish we could be there!

We love you and we'll see you around Christmas!

I LOVE Aunt Jodie!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Basket Wars

The kids have recently discovered the joy of climbing into laundry baskets. The problem: not enough baskets for all the kids! At least not enough sitting out where they can be easily reached by toddlers! And the battle has begun. Who will reign supreme? Who will run away crying? Who will get bonked on the head when he is dumped out of the basket by one of his own siblings? Who will get squished when someone tries to climb in on top of him? Who knows? There's so many of them! The answer is always changing!

You've been in there long enough, Reagan!

Why do you have to be so heavy, Zachary?

Believe it or not, Zachary is actually climbing out of his basket and into Thomas'!

I love how Thomas sits in the basket with his little feet sticking out!

Quite a change from just over a year ago when they fit two to a basket and no shoving!

I've always loved this picture of Reagan and Thomas!

Finally, those stupid baskets are out of my way and I can get some reading done...what do you mean the book is upside down?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Meeting Jon and Kate

This past Sat night, Jim and I were blessed to meet Jon and Kate of Discovery Health and TLC's "Jon and Kate Plus 8" tv show. In case you aren't familiar with them, here is a very brief introduction: Jon and Kate wanted children but faced infertility issues. With medical help and the will of God, they were able to bring beautiful twin girls into the world. When their daughters were about 3, they decided they would like to try for one more. They got more than they bargained for as God saw fit to bless them with sextuplets! 2+6=8 Jon and Kate plus 8! So the tv show follows their lives with 8 young children (the twins are 6 and I think the little ones recently turned 3).

Jon and Kate were in town for a 3-session speaking engagement at Farragut Fellowship. My sister had called over a month ago and told me about it, but we were also invited by Doug, one of the ministers at Farragut Fellowship and a friend and former co-worker of Jim's. We were able to go thanks to Jeanette and Wanda who generously agreed to watch the kids for us.

Jon and Kate spoke about the many ways God has worked in their lives and blessed them throughout the struggles and trials they have faced becoming a family of 10. They shared the lessons they have learned, mainly about how God is in control and we have to stop trying to take that control away from Him and trust in His will for our lives. This is a side of their lives that they don't really have an opportunity to share on their show, but it is so important to them, so they were very pleased to have the chance to travel and speak to people about God's blessings.

Jim and I both really enjoyed and benefited from what they had to say. Not only were they an encouragement to us spiritually, but we also enjoyed the personal stories they had to tell, especially when so many of them echoed our own struggles--the decision not to reduce the number of babies in the womb, struggles with understanding God's decision to give us so many babies at once, worries about the future, financial strain, etc. So many of their issues have also been our issues!

In addition to the talk they gave, there was also a question-and-answer period, followed by a meet-and-greet where we actually got to have a little chat with Jon and Kate. They were very personable and open. I felt like we could easily have talked with them all night, although I'm sure they long line of people behind us would not have appreciated it! We gave them a picture of our kids and the blog address, which they seemed genuinely interested in. So who knows, they might even leave a comment!

It was really a wonderful experience! If any of you ever have an opportunity to hear them speak, you should definitely go! They were great!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Why Didn't We Think of This Before?!?

Recently my brilliant husband figured out an affordable way to block off a play area outside so that I can actually take the kids outdoors by myself without worrying that one is going to disappear around the corner of the house while two others are falling off into the creek and the fourth one is running over to play at Carter's house! I only wish he had thought of it months ago!

It's just like that orange construction netting, only it's green

I love the patio! Go Vols!

It really is perfect, at least for now! We can go outside and run around and throw balls and ride our wheeled toys and really enjoy the sunshine and fresh air! It's great! Next Spring, we hope to put up an actual fence around the backyard, so we'll have a whole lot of space to run around in then, while still keeping the horde contained and safe from falling in the creek! Very important!

Operation Pacifier

The other morning, I was just about to crawl under a crib to search for a missing pacifier, as I inevitably must do every time the kids sleep, when I suddenly wondered...What if I don't give the boys their pacies for the morning nap? Hmmm...So I straightened back up and decided the worst that could happen was that they would scream for the entire nap and I'd have to give them back. I quickly removed all the pacies from sight and prepared to give it a go!

This wasn't totally on a whim. Jim and I had briefly discussed the fact that eventually we would need to give them up. We were starting to run low on pacies as they either disappeared into some black hole somewhere or began to tear and were thrown away. We either needed to break the pacy habit or start looking for a way to buy new ones. We used the ones they were given in the NICU and had simply come home with a bag full of them, so I didn't know where we would go to get new ones.

Anyway, the morning nap came along, and I put the kids to bed without pacifiers.

And the boys started crying because they couldn't find them.

They cried for about ten minutes and then they all went to sleep! I was amazed! It went so well I decided to keep the pacies in hiding for the afternoon nap too! That nap went much like it does every day...they chattered and squealed and cried off and on for awhile and then they went to sleep! So that night they went to bed without pacies and now it's Day 5 of sleeping without pacifiers and it seems to be going just great!

I'm truly amazed! I really expected more of a fuss, although I guess this has been like every other transition we have faced. When I decided they needed to have set naptimes, I just kept them awake until the time I had decided on and then I put them all down in their beds and they went to sleep like it was totally normal. When we started cutting out the bottles, the time of day would come when they would normally get a bottle, and I would give them a sippy cup instead, and they just accepted it. No fuss at all! What a tremendous blessing it has been to have such adaptable children!

So, please join us as we wish a fond farewell to our beloved pacifiers!
(cue sappy music)
In the middle is Reagan with her pacy, back before she decided only boys needed pacies!
Jonathan smiles fondly at his favorite companion
Jonathan, Zachary, and Thomas in their last pictures with the pacies. These pictures were actually taken the moment they each turned one year old!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

In the News!

Hey, did you guys hear we are in the newspaper?
What's a newspaper?

Wow! We really are in the newspaper today! I have to say it was pretty fun to see myself and Jim and the kids in print! For all the world to see! Well, for half of Knoxville, anyway! So run out North and West and get your own copy! We're hot off the presses!

We'll be getting several copies!

Elizabeth Pooley, who wrote the article, did a great job! We bombarded her with a tremendous amount of information the day she visited us! Her hand must have hurt from all the notes she took! However, I hope I won't hurt her feelings if a make a few corrections.

First of all, although I'm sure the members of Hardin Valley Baptist Church are very lovely people who would have been delighted to help us if they had known about us, we did not receive any support from them. Which is fine! They don't know us, so there was no reason for them to help us out. We did, however, receive enormous support from the members of Hardin Valley Church of Christ. They have been just as wonderful to us as our home congregation of West End Church of Christ. In fact, they are still supplying us with diapers, a gift we are extremely grateful for! They were also involved in the provision of meals and volunteer help, in conjunction with the members of West End.

I would also like to add that my sister, Jodie Perkins of Memphis, also came to help out when the babies came home. Having just completed her first year as a mom, she was and continues to be an invaluable source of help for my new adventure as a mom. Also my dear dear friend Michelle who lives here in Knoxville. I couldn't have remained as sane as I have without her continuous presence and support. I could probably fill the entire newspaper by myself naming off all the people who helped us out, particularly during the early months when we were so overwhelmed and in need of constant encouragement and strength.

Honestly, what it all comes down to is this: we have been blessed beyond anything we could have ever imagined. Not only have we been blessed with four beautiful, healthy children, but we have also been blessed with all the support; emotional, physical, financial, mental, etc.; we needed to make it through the trials that come along with having four babies at once. God knew what we needed and He has provided it in the most amazing and unexpected ways!

Another correction, the kids weren't born at East Tennessee Children's Hospital. They were born at Ft. Sanders Regional and then quickly transported to the NICU at Children's.

Now than, there are probably other things I could change or add to the article, but they are of little consequence, so I'll stop. If I don't, the English teacher in me will come out and I will end up re-writing the entire article! Sometimes I just can't help myself!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Halloween Pajamas!

Imagine my surprise when I was going through our winter hand-me-downs and discovered 3 sets of Halloween-themed pajamas, plus an additional pair of Halloween-ish pajama bottoms! I have no idea where any of them came from, although I do know they are all hand-me-downs! Thank you whoever gave them to us! I really enjoyed putting the kids in them! They were super-cute! I hope you think so too!

*Newsflash* I think we are going to be in the paper tomorrow! I don't know this absolutely, but Liz from the Knoxville News Sentinel who interviewed us said she thought the article would come out this Wednesday. If so, it should be in the local section of the paper for those who live in either North or West Knoxville. My apologies to those of you who live South or East. Apparently we aren't considered local news in your areas of town! Be sure to check us out!

October Stats

Here is the final tally for sickness in the month of October, by far our worst month of all 16 months the kids have been around as far as sickness is concerned!

Number of days one or more children ran a fever: 13

Number of days one or more children had a runny nose: 15

Number of ear infections: 3

Number of cases of infant roseola: 1 confirmed by doctor, 1 unconfirmed

Let's hope November is better!

I spent a good deal of the month of October feeling sorry for myself because I have quadruplets and they were all sick and it just went on and on and nobody who doesn't have multiples could possibly understand, blah, blah, blah! I was quite pitiful sometimes. But I have since been reminded that even families without multiples can have to deal with sickness that just goes on and on, one thing after another for days or weeks on end. I'm sure this is not the end of this winter's ailments. I hope that in the future I can keep things more in perspective and just be glad that my kids aren't seriously ill. Seemingly endless fevers and runny noses are annoying and inconvenient and kind of messy, but they aren't frightening. They aren't scary sicknesses. Ear infections can be dealt with. Noses can wiped. I need to remember to thank God that my children haven't been sick with anything truly serious and pray that they never are!

Pumpkin Patch

A couple of weeks ago, on a rare October day when no one was sick, we took the kids to a local pumpkin patch. It was the first day the kids had been out of the house in a pretty long time, which turned out to be both good and bad. It was good because they were so excited to be out of the house that they were in a great mood the whole time we were there. But it was bad because all they really wanted to do was run around in the big empty patch of straw-covered grass and not explore the pumpkins at all. We kept having to chase them down and bring them back to where the pumpkins were! Maybe next year they'll take after their cousin Kinley and be fascinated by the pumpkins!

If someone would move all these big balls out of the way, I could run around a lot better!

But...I want to go back to that big open space! It's right there!

Hey, these balls have knobs on them, but they don't do anything!

If we move all the funny balls, can we climb on these big blocks?

Finally a shot of all four!
We bought our Halloween pumpkin there, and as a special bonus, received 4 little pumpkins for free! The nice man who gave them to us said they always give little kids a free pumpkin on their first visit to the pumpkin patch, but he never thought he'd give away four at once!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Total Infestation

That was then...

This is now...

What a difference a year has made! The kids LOVED their costumes. The boys didn't even seem to mind the hoods and kept them on nearly all the time! I think they may have even understood that these were not regular clothes, they were special, the event was special. They didn't get it, but they knew there was something special going on!

We did take the kids out last night, although what we did was really more like trick-or-visiting. We just showed off our costumes and visited the neighbors. Carter and his family came with us. Carter was much more into the candy than my four. He really knew what he was doing! He was a dinosaur, and Josh and Cris had taught him to hold up his hands and roar. It was the most adorable thing! I tried to teach the boys to buzz, but they wouldn't do it.

Here are some random shots of our recent Halloween-inspired experiences...

As I've mentioned before, I made two of the bumblebee costumes (the ones with black hoods). They look pretty good next to the store-bought ones, huh? Yea, me!


Me and Cris with all the kids

Who needs to take the wrapper off? It's more fun to just chew through it!

Happy Halloween!