Monday, January 26, 2009

Roll Baby Roll!!!

Last Wednesday night, I was busy in the kitchen cooking dinner. The babies were in various places around the living room. I had just put Elizabeth on her belly on a blanket on the floor when I went into the kitchen to stir a pot on the stove. I came back into the living room about 2 minutes later and Elizabeth was laying on her back. Hmmmmm.....I asked my Mom and John, "did one of you put Lizzie on her back?" The both said they hadn't flipped her. So I went over and put her back on her belly again and as soon as I did, my little rolly polly rolled right over on her back! YIPPEE!!! I couldn't believe it! John ran to get the video camera while I put her on her tummy again. We taped for the next 10 minutes and wouldn't you know it - that little stinker wouldn't roll over again! So, no video of the big event, but we're thrilled none the less! Not to be outdone, John was laying on his belly in his crib the next day after waking up for a nap when he rolled himself right over from his belly to his back and he's done it again 3 more times. Not wanting to be left out of the action, Claire was laying on her belly on the blanket this morning and she was so upset, that she rolled herself right over! Yep - that's three babies who have rolled over at least once in the last week! I don't think little Kate is all that far behind so we'll let you know when she makes #4!

Claire is starting to pick things up with her hands and of course, everything goes in the mouth!

She really is quite skilled at picking up her rattles, blankets, and especially the soft little blonde haired doll that Grandma bought her for Christmas. Claire also has a real love of her hands and is smiling so much these days. As you can see, she loves to sit on Daddy's lap and suck away while watching a good TV show. When she got weighed the other day by Marcia (our favorite visiting nurse :), Claire tipped the scales at 14 lbs. Unbelieveable!

Kate is working on eating with a new bottle these days. We went through a period here recently where we were having a hard time getting her to eat consistently. Her rhythm was very off and her eating skills seemed to be very disorganized. She would only eat a few ounces and then she would stop and refused to take the bottle back. She's also struggled with bouts of large spit ups on and off since early November. She takes Prevacid and Zantac for the GERD she has which has proven to be a good solution. We consulted with a speech pathologist who specializes in feeding disorders in both children and adults who suggested a few things to try as well as a new bottle and nipple which have worked much better. Despite all of these issues my little Kate is up to 11 lbs, 8 oz. Although she's an inch or two shorter than the others, she is growing by leaps and bounds in so many other ways. She's VERY alert, playful and as of the other day, she loves to giggle when Daddy tickles her under the neck. You just can't help but smile when you look at her! Check out the eyelashes on this little beauty!

Little John is now officially addicted to his thumb.

His thumb has become his new best buddy. When we lay him down in his crib at night to go to sleep, he may fuss a little at first but as soon as we put his thumb in his mouth for him, he is one happy dude! I check on the babies before I go to bed at night and most nights, I'll walk into their room and hear this loud sucking sound. It's always John sucking away, happy as a clam. I've never been a fan of pacifiers - that of course was prior to have quadruplets! Interestingly enough, the babies still like their hands better than an artifical soothers. I guess I'm happy about this, although there are times when I'd give everything I own for them to take a pacifier and be happy! Although my little Kate has by far had the most difficult road since birth, in many ways I think John has made the most remarkable changes physically. Take a look at John in these pictures. This first pictures was taken in the NICU when he was just 11 days old. The second picture is our sweet little boy today at 13 lbs, 2 oz:

Isn't that just amazing? God is good.

Last but certainly not least is Elizabeth. What a sweet girl she is - smiling and giggling all day long. As I said, Elizabeth was the first one to roll over and I believe will be the first one to sit up on her own also. We have a developmentalist that comes to the house once a week to work with the children and I on meeting developmental goals and Elizabeth routinely sets the pace that the others follow. She has amazing head and neck control and yesterday, she did us her hands to tripod herself while sitting upright for a few seconds. Lizzie has started to slow down on eating - John actually weighs more than she does these days - but she's still growing and doing quite well at 12 lbs, 15 oz. Here's a picture of her and her "bro" hanging out naked on some blankets on the floor (poor John always gets stuck laying on the pink blankets or using pink bibs! That's what happens when you're the odd man out with three sisters in a set of quadruplets!)

Another big milestone that we've reached is that each of the babies have slept through the night in the past week. Kate has always been a masterful sleeper - going 6-8 hours easily before waking up to eat. John and Elizabeth in the past week have each gone 8-10 hours before waking up. Claire has always been kind of the "weak link" in the sleep area, getting up every 4-6 hours. I'm thrilled to report that last night, Claire slept for 9 hours before waking up to eat! Yahoo! The babies all loved (and really NEEDED) to be swaddled at first. They needed that sense of closeness that swaddling provides. We no longer swaddle them now, but we do wrap their Swaddle Me blankets around the trunks of their boddies and under their arms to keep them warm at night. I love those things! So....Mommy is one happy camper now that we're getting the sleep thing going!!!

Thanks for checking in with us...I'm going to post the pictures of our photo session with Natalie in the next few days so check back to get a peak.

Monday, January 19, 2009

IS IT SPRING YET?!?!?!?!?!?!?

OK....I have to admit that I'm starting to get a little stir crazy being in the house all day long during these seemingly LONG winter days. I went three days last week without even stepping foot outside and I think it's starting to get to me a little!!! In my LBFB (Life Before Five Babies!), John and I were very active people - always running here and there, enjoying our "get up and go" lifestyle whenever we wanted. When we were looking to buy our first house, one of our favorite things to do was spend the evening looking online as houses for sale and then going to get a cup of coffee late at night and driving all over Pittsburgh to check out our favorite ones. Ahhhh.....those were the carefree days! Today, the only coffee we have is usually first thing in the morning to wake ourselves up just enough to get the day started and get the bottles made :) Life certainly has changed...but for the better in so many ways. We may not be as active as we once were, but our blessings have multipled - literally! - times 5! I just can't wait for the Spring to come and warmer more pleasant weather. I can't wait to take the kids outside so that they can feel the warm sunshine on their faces instead of bundling them up in their carseats and rushing them in and out of the car everytime we have doctor's appointment! Not to mention the apprehension I feel every time they have to go to the doctor and people stopping to stare at them and wanting to touch them. I always get the ridiculous million questions like "are they ALL yours?" I'm dying to say "No, I stole these four and I've got six more in the car just for fun!" or the ever popular "was this planned?" I still can't figure this question out. Who plans to have four children all at once?!?!?!?

Now that I got that off my chest.....I digress.

Back to my original thought. I've tried to approach our crazy wonderful lives with small, short term goals. One thing I've learned is this: If you approach any big overwhelming situation or obstacle as a whole, you'll get swallowed up by it and you'll be defeated before you even begin. Start by setting small short term goals so that you have small victories which will give you momentum to address the next challenges ahead. This theory has served me pretty well so far. Don't get me wrong...sometimes I eat the bear and somedays the bear eats me! However, I'm proud to say that the Lemonovich crew has been very successful at achieving a lot of our short terms goals. The babies are sleeping about 6-7 hours in the night before waking up around 3:00 for feeding. John and I get up and feed all four in about 1 hour, 15 minutes. The babies - amazingly - eat and go back to sleep almost immediately. This is truly a blessing from God! Once back asleep, they typically sleep for about 4 more hours before waking up for the day. We're getting about 6 -7 hours of sleep right now which is awesome, I think. Anyone who knows me knows just how much I love my sleep and so I thank God tonight for my wonderful sleeping babies!

The babies' growth is really reflected in their eating. We're really starting to pack away the formula these days!!! Claire, Elizabeth and John each eat 5-6 ounces every 4 hours. Kate has been having some difficulty with feeding since early November when she returned home from her 2 week stay in Childrens. She has a difficult time manipulating the nipple correctly which causes her to be really disorganized in her eating skills. We're working on trying some new nipples and using oral stimulation prior to eating to help her overcome this so we're hopeful that we'll get the situation corrected. The babies are growing SO fast! We're going to try and start rice cereal on a spoon for each of them this week. Here's what they weigh as of Sunday:

- Claire - 13 lbs, 10 oz.

- John - 12 lbs, 10 1/2 oz.

- Elizabeth - 12 lbs, 13 oz.

- Kate - 11 lbs, 2 oz.

I swear that Claire looks like a toddler already! She seems so big and she feels so heavy! To watch them all smile, giggle, coo and wiggle is so much fun. Every week is bringing amazing changes. I was looking at the NICU pictures the other day of the morning they were born and it's nothing short of an absolute miracle when you look at them today compared to where they were just 7 months ago. Modern medicine, while imperfect, is a gift from God - PERIOD.

My sweet boy Luke has had Barney birthday party this weekend and had a fabulous time. He talked about the party for days before. He got so many wonderful gifts and got to spend the day with his cousins so it was a hit all the way around! I just can't get over the fact that my first born baby is 2. He is so wonderfully amazing and I love every minute of watching him grow, explore and experience new things for the first time. We bought him his first sled as one of his presents - now if we only had the time to take him outside to give it a try!

We're taking the kids to the Portraits by Natalie studio this weekend for their first official professional pictures! I can't wait! I am absolutely in love with Natalie's work and can't wait to see what she does with all 5 of my little peanuts! I'll glad share some of them here on the blog once Natalie forward them on to me. Check out Natalie's website if you're in the market for beautiful photographs of your family, wedding,

I'm also getting ready to make our first major quad purchase. We're going to be buying a quad stroller. Up until now, we've been using two double strollers that we bought second hand, but with Spring approaching and Mommy ready to get out and about, a quad stroller is definitely needed. Here's a picture of the model we're purchasing:

Thanks to the wonderful donations from the students and faculty of Christ Lutheran Church & School in Forest Hills and the VBS students at Calvary Lutheran Church in Murraysville, we are now able to buy this awesome stroller for our little ones! These kids collected spare change, ran laps and various other things to raise money for our family. Is that amazing or what?!?!?! We are humbled by their hard work on our behalf and honored to count these kids, their teachers and families as our friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. THANK YOU!!!

Well...time to sign off for tonight. As of today, only 60 days until the start of Spring! March 21st - here we come! THINK SPRING!!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Luke and Happy New Year!!

As always there’s not much time to write considering every minute I stay awake now that the babies are all sleeping is one minute less of sleep before they all wake up to eat!!!

First things first…Happy Birthday to the apple of our eye Luke! Today marked his second Birthday and what a wonderful big brother he’s growing to be. Luke is so inquisitive, speaks like crazy in full sentences, deduces things that are amazing, he’s so playful, and so seemingly grown up! He’s also starting to be a big helper. Tonight while we were trying to get the babies fed and to bed Lukie was going over to our dearest screamer Claire Bear, and waved a big balloon in front of her saying “Look Claire…Look Claire” and Claire would stop screaming for a moment to check out what Luke was doing… thanks buddy!! Mysteriously enough sometimes it's like he holds things together and keeps us laughing.

Just the boys hangin' out on the couch:

Luke now asks to hold the babies (and by name too…sometimes the wrong name ..he he) and he holds them while petting their head and saying "nice baby…nice baby". He does this for about 20 seconds and then he’s done with them and wants to go do his thing. Unfortunately for his Birthday he’s not feeling the greatest but his big Barney party is this Saturday and we hope he’s feeling much better then.

As we look back and reflect on 2008 it was by far the most difficult, emotional, stressful, nerve-racking, and yet most rewarding year of our lives – all at the same time. So much of it seems to just be a complete blur. When I look back at the pictures of Carrie during the pregnancy and the pictures of the babies in the NICU and how seemingly fragile and vulnerable they were, it’s like a dream. We are forever indebted to so many people who helped us and continue to help us on a regular basis. It’s peculiar to look at the babies now and think back to how many times the circumstances sounded insurmountable – especially in the beginning of the pregnancy and throughout the whole year with Kate. Thanks be to God for the health of our babies and for keeping us strong and granting us patience!! (we need lots and lots of that) BTW – look at Kate now!

She can go for longer periods of time now with NO oxygen and no monitors!! It’s weird to carry her around and not have her rats nest of wires attached. She stares at you so intently when you hold her or feed her. All the babies are starting to coo and make various noises and even laugh. Lizzy smiles away and babbles and even lets a big giggle out here and there. I’ve tried to catch this on my camera as a video clip to upload on the blog…but no such luck. All the babies seem to know precisely when I get out the camera or camcorder as they abruptly stop whatever they’re doing that’s cute or interesting. The quads just had their first homecoming back to the hospital where they were born for their first developmental check-up and we are pleased to report they are doing very well. With this visit being the first data point and not much to see a trend the doctors and developmental specialist where pleased to see how they have thrived and to see that they are well into the percentiles of their adjusted age. The next step is to see them moving more toward the percentiles of their chronological age (in other words catching up to a full term baby with the same due date). Claire was the most “advanced” and got the highest marks while Kate was the lowest in percentiles for SOME aspects but as always, the doctors keep telling us to NOT compare her to our others and that she is doing just fine. As for their current weights Claire (by now since her last weigh-in) should be over 13 lbs while Elizabeth and little Quinny (aka the Goat Man) are just over 12 lbs and under 12lbs, respectively. Kate is starting to have some nice weight gains and should be pushing 11 lbs!! I need sleep so sorry to cut this short.

Some miscellaneous pics from 2008:

Carrie during the first trimester with the quads:
Carrie at about 12 weeks with the quads:
Carrie at just under 2 weeks from delivery:

Luke with Poppy enjoying the view:
Luke loved this swing last summer (as you can see):
Luke and cousin Jack for Halloween:

A couple recent pics:
Grandma, Claire, and Quinny:
Claire (upside down) and Lizzie:
The whole crew with Luke as the leader (who loves to say cheese and smile big):

Goodnight for now and Happy New Year!