Sunday, July 31, 2011

What's that Smell???

So, yesterday, I was taking a load of baby laundry out of the washer to put into the dryer and I thought to myself, "Is my washer not working right?  These clothes still smell like puke!"  This is the last thing we need right now...a washer that can't even get the puke smell out of the baby clothes.  It only took me a few minutes, and I was relieved (yes, relieved) to realize that it wasn't the washed clothes that smelled like puke...It was ME.   I should have known.  Out of the four of our little ones, Benjamin is the only one that rarely spits up.  Harrison has an occasional feeding that is puke free, but I'm beginning to wonder how Oscar and Jaylyn are gaining any weight at all.  We are burping every ounce, and each time it seems like more is coming out than went in.  I swear we are using a washer load of burp rags and bibs each day.
What I don't understand is, why does the formula have to smell just as bad before they drink it as it does after they puke it back up?  The other day, Lilya took the lid off of an empty bottle and smelled it (don't ask me why...I guess she was just curious).  I couldn't help but laugh when she gagged and almost threw up herself from the smell.  Just a couple days ago,  I caught her hiding on the side of the couch, smelling an empty bottle and making herself gag.  She must be trying to build up her tollerance since it is a common smell in our house now!  I don't have to smell empty baby bottles to build my tollerance...It has become my new perfume.

Friday, July 29, 2011

God Gives Special Children to Special People

While I was going back to school to get my teaching degree, I had the wonderful opportunity to work at my old high school with the Moderate, Severe and Profound Special Needs kids.  I LOVED it.  I had never been around more innocent, caring teenagers in my life.  Sometimes, I wonder who learned more in my experiences there...them or me. I had thought about staying and teaching in that room, but that would have meant another two years of school.  I decided to look for an elementary position, so we could begin trying again to start our family.  I won't lie...the thought crossed my mind that because I enjoyed working with special needs children, maybe God would give me one of my own.  So, when I found out that we were expection quadruplets, it was something I thought about often.  My little Oscar has what is called SVT's.  It is an extra electical path in his heart that causes his heart to beat twice as fast as it should at times.  His heart is healthy otherwise, and he and the others have no other health problems.  The doctor even expects that he will outgrow the condition before he is a year old.  I feel like God took a little extra time on Oscar to make him special, to get him a little extra attention in the beginning.  Because I know that God doesn't make mistakes, I feel that way about all children who have some sort of special need.  They are not flawed, they are special.  God took extra time to make them different from others.  He then places them with extra special people. Today's technology makes it so easy to follow stories of families with special needs children.  I  think this is why I am humbled when people comment on what a good mom I am.  I have six children (including my step-son, Kaleb), and all of them are healthy.  I have been inspired by, and have learned so much from some very special moms.  I hope they will continue to share their stories!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Did you really just ask that?

I knew when I began dating Tony Stewart, that I would be in for a lifetime of silly questions.  I can't tell you how many times that people have asked if I am married to THE Tony Stewart.  My thoughts, "Did you really just ask that?"  My answer is always, "He is THE only Tony Stewart that I really know."  I sometimes wonder why people ask that question when I'm 99% sure they know the answer.
Since I became pregnant with and have delivered the quads, I find myself thinking, "Did you really just ask that?" a lot more often.  I don't mind answering questions about my little ones, but sometimes I am shocked at just what exactly people (especially complete strangers) think is okay to ask.  When I think of questions that I might ask an expectant mom (of a singleton), I think of things like: When are you due?  Do you know if you're having a boy or girl?  Do you have names picked out?  I would never ask someone, "Where did you concieve? How did you get pregnant?"  Those seem a little personal to ask. Yet, I have been asked those same questions multiple times now.  I know that when I see someone with multiples, I often wonder if they struggled with infertility, but I also know that my curiosity doesn't give me the right to invade their privacy.  Infertility is an extremely difficult thing for women to struggle with.  When I found out that I could not get pregnant on my own, I felt like I was failing as a woman.  I would have given anything to be "normal".  I struggled with the thought of going through fertility treatments.  At times, I felt like if God wanted me to be a mom, He would not have given me this hurdle.  After much time praying, I came to realize that the oportunity wouldn't be there if it wasn't meant to be.  When people ask me if I did invetro or if I took fertility drugs, I feel that I am being judged...why else would they need to know the answer to that question.  I am not ashamed at how my children were concieved.  I am very grateful that I have been blessed with these miracles of life, and I don't mind sharing my story.  I do mind having my privacy invaded by such questions, only to be followed up with comments such as:  I don't know how you're going to do it.  You're crazy.  Wow, better you than me.  At least you didn't get (5, 6, 7, 8).  I would rather hear:  What an amazing family you have.  You have been very blessed.  My hope, if you are reading this, is that the next time you see a family with multiples, if you must comment, you say something about how blessed they are, and then be on your way.
As for MY Tony Stewart, you can check out the TGIF section of the Lafayette Journal & Courier coming out soon, and see the comparison to the OTHER Tony Stewart.  Once that article runs, maybe that will be one less silly question I have to answer these days.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Beating the Heat

So relieved to wake up to 70 degree weather today!  Last week's temperatures ran in the high 90's all week with the humidity making it feel between 105 and 115 degrees!  Although we were lucky to have done all of our running the week before, we were still feeling the effects of the heat in this big old house.  Our two window airconditioners have been working overtime. 
Tony spent his lunch breaks taking Lilya out to play in her little pool.  I'm sure he would have liked to join her after having to work out in it himself.  I am looking forward to summers to come when the little ones are big enough to take out and enjoy the water too.  For now, we have to do what we can to stay cool.  The good thing...less laundry!  The quads haven't worn clothes for almost a week now, so I haven't needed to wash so many clothes. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rocking with Nannie

I can only think of one thing better than being rocked by your grandma, and that is being rocked by your great-grandma.  I was very lucky to have known and been close to two of my great-grandmas.  Grandma Roberts, my mom's grandma, lived in Frankfort when I was growing up.  I remember going there, and talking with her as she rocked in her recliner in front of her big picture window.  Out of all of my grandmas, I only had one Mammaw.  That was Mammaw Hilda.  She was my dad's grandma.  What I remember most of Mammaw is her singing...probably because Nannie carried it on.  I sing those songs with my little ones.  In fact, Lilya often will ask me to sing the "yittle yam" song (that translates to little lamb).  When I am finished, she'll say, "How about kitty song."  I love singing these songs to (and now, with) her, but I love even more that Nannie is able to come and rock and sing those songs to my little ones.  What a wonderful memory to carry on throughout generations!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Oh, the Things We Wear in Public

So, we are finally to the end of a very long week of appointments for the babies.  It all started on Monday with a trip to the Optomologist in Indianapolis.  All four babies had to go, and we had to be there by 8 o'clock.  I had help the night before, so I was able to shower at about 4 a.m., feed at 5:30 instead of the usual 6:00, and head out by 7:00.  The babies all did great at the eye doctor.  Benjamin, Jaylyn, and Harrison don't have to go back until November.  Oscar will go back in August, just to make sure everything has progressed the way it should.  When we were finished, we headed over to say hello to Dr. Henry and his staff.   I was so glad to have Amy Perez along...I cannot do it alone. Loading them in and out of the car three times that day was an excellent workout. I wish I would have worn my yoga pants and a tank top so I could have at least been comfortable.
By Wednesday, we were back at it.  The quads had their two month check up and shots at the doctor in Frankfort.  This time, I loaded them up, and Amy met me at the doctor's office.  They are growing great!  Oscar is 18 3/4 in. and weighs 6 lbs. 7 oz.  Benjamin is 20 1/2 in and weighs 8 lbs 2 oz.  Jaylyn is 19 1/8 in. and 6 lbs 7 oz. and Harrison is 19 3/4 in and 6 lbs 15 oz.  After the fun measuring part was over, it was time to get shots...12 total!  I remembered taking Lilya to get her first shots.  No one had told me that she would have to get three.  I cried the entire time.  You would think that this would have been four times as bad, but it was so hectic, it was much easier (on the momma).  I took the time to put on makeup before we went...only because I didn't have time to shower, and I thought it might disguise the fact that I only slept a total of 2 1/2 hours the night before.
Thursday, it was more loading them in and out of the car.  We had another appointment in Frankfort, and then I loaded them in and out at Anne's so that I could go to Wal-Mart.  I was grateful when my friend, Sarah, asked if Lilya could go to the fair with them on Thursday night.  I dropped her off at her house on my way home, so I only had to make 19 trips to the car and back while unloading babies and groceries.  I was exhausted by the time I got everyone settled and all of the groceries put away.  I sat down on the couch and propped my feet up to relax for the half hour before it would be time to start feeding babies again.  As I looked down, I noticed what looked like a Strawberry Shortcake (you know, the pink haired little girl that smells like strawberries) tatoo.  Surely that wasn't still there from the day before when Lilya was sticking stickers all over my legs.  I had managed to grab a quick shower in the morning, but even though I was planning on wearing capri pants, there was no time to shave my legs.  I can't believe no one at Wal-Mart even mentioned my beautiful tatoo...maybe it just now stuck to me as I sat down on the couch.  I bent down and pulled on it.  Yep, stuck tight like it had been there over night, and given extra sticky when it got wet in the shower...nice.
Today seemed like the easiest trip of the week.  Anne came out and spent the night again last night, and took care of the kiddos through the night.  I was able to get a good 7 hours of straight sleep, and woke up refreshed.  I actually showered AND applied makeup today, getting ready to take Jaylyn back to the Women's Hospital for a hip ultrasound.  You would think since I only had to take one (Anne stayed at my house with the others), that I might be on time today, but to follow suit with every other appointment we had this week, we were running about 15 min. late.  Of course, we still had to wait a bit, and as I crossed my legs in the waiting room, I noticed a huge glob of baby puke at the bottom of my black skirt.  So much for trying to look nice one day of the week.  Oh well, it was all better when the ultrasound tech said that her hips looked perfect.  "There's nothing you have to worry about."
This is my life.  When I go out into public, I may have had a shower, I may not; I may have on makeup, I may not; I may still be in my pajamas, I may not; I may be wearing stickers, I may not; I may care what others think...Probably NOT.  I wouldn't have it any other way!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Kindness of a Stranger

When we found out that we were expecting quadrupelets, I knew that it would be something that our little community was not used to. I was not surprised that both a television station and our local newspaper asked to do a story. While it is being heard of more and more these days with the use of fertility, it is still something that you don't hear about everyday.

I am not a shy person. I love to talk to others...share my stories and in turn, hear theirs. I have been inspired by so many people, and would like to think that I could do the same for others. I clearly remember the days when I thought that I would never have the chance to be a mother. I took comfort in reading the stories/blogs of other women who were in similar situations. I loved reading their success stories, and my heart aches for those that never found that success.

That leads me to the stranger who called my house yesterday. You see, The Frankfort Times ran a very nice article about our new additions in yesterday's paper. Before I had even had the chance to read the article, my phone rang. There was an older lady on the line who said she was looking for the lady that had the babies. She asked for our address and explained that she would like to send us a $100 check for the babies. She continued with her story: She was one of twelve children in her family. Her parents never had much money, and they struggled to raise all twelve. In fact, after we had talked a while, we realized that Tony's great-aunt had actually taken her in at the age of 7...she had had no idea of the connection before she called. She had eventually married, but she and her husband had never had any children of their own. I could hear the saddness in her voice as she told me this. Again, my heart hurt for her. I had known the feeling of not being able to have children, but I was lucky that in today's age, we are given many opportunities to change that. She, now 86 years old, did not have those same opportunities. She explained how she and her husband had been business owners, and they had but 4 of their friend's kids through college. What amazing people who must have cared so much for the well being of children, even if they couldn't have their own. She found our story to be amazing, and wanted to show us some support as well. What she doesn't realize, and I hope I get the chance to tell her, is that just our phone conversation was enough for me. I am inspired by her kindness, generosity, and love for all children!

A Date with Daddy

While we have been crazy, busy trying to adjust to having four new little ones at home, we do realize that Lilya needs some attention too. She has been making that clear, as I said in my last post, with her actions during feeding time.

Saturday, when Tony got off work, he decided that it was time for her to have a date with Daddy. The two of them went to Barnes and Noble (that was hard for Mommy, since it is her favorite store) and McDonalds. Lilya came home with Where the Wild Things Are, a new stuffed puppy, a Tinkerbell watercolor paint book, and her favorite, a chicken nugget Happy Meal. She was as happy as could be!

I'm so thankful that my children have such an awesome daddy! He spends countless hours entertaining her even when he is exhausted from the rest of his day.

Now, we need to convince her that it is not ok to paint the walls with her new paints while the babies are being steps!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Making the Adjustment (from 1 to 5)

As you can imagine, bringing home quadruplets has been an adjustment for everyone. We have gone from having a toddler, to having a toddler and four new borns. During my pregnancy, I had blogged my feelings of guilt that I was going to be taking away attention from Lilya. I admitted that I'm sure this is a feeling that a lot of mothers have when they are expecting their second child...often wondering how you can possibly give each child the love and attention that they deserve. So, at times, I felt very overwhelmed with the fact that I was not only going to bring home one new baby, but four. I was very worried about how Lilya would react.

Now that we're home, I feel silly to have been so worried. All along, I felt like I would be taking away from Lilya while actually I have given her so much. She is as much in love as we are with the new babies. The first night that Benjamin, Jaylyn and Harrison were home, Tony was taking her up the stairs to give her a bath. She looked over the stair railing and said, "Awww...look at my teeny tiny babies." She has given countless kisses over the last 3 weeks, and even likes to help with diaper duty.

I don't want to make it sound like it has all gone perfect. Lilya is still only 2 1/2 years old. We have had some moments...four days ago, Lilya came into the living room during feeding time and said that her panties were wet. When I went into the bathroom, there was a puddle of pee next to the toilet. The following day, while babies were being fed, she walked in without any panties. When I asked her what she was doing, she said, "Nothing, I just pooped on the floor." Sure enough, in the same place I had found the puddle of pee, there was now poop. After talking with her about how she would be cleaning it up if it happened again, thankfully, we have gone two days without another accident. I try to include her during feeding times as much as possible. We love to read books to the babies as we feed. Hopefully this has also distracted her from these "attention getting" acts.

Life is about adjusting to make the best of every situation, and we are a blessed family to have so much to adjust to.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Our first Holiday (Happy 4th of July)

Two years ago today, Lilya watched her first fireworks show from the front yard of my Grandma Mary Lou's in Raton, NM. I remember it like it was yesterday. We moved the gliding bench out to the middle of the yard, so Grandma would be able to join us. Mom, Grandma and I sat on the bench and waited, wondering if Lilya would like them or be afraid. Uncle Donnie spread his blanket on the ground in front of us and got comfortable too. As they began to explode, Lilya was amazed. The loud noises didn't seem to bother her at all. She loved the wonderful colors that appeared with each bang. As we all sat watching (more Lilya than the fireworks), it began to rain. That didn't seem to bother us. We stayed right where we were until the display was over. It was as if we all knew that it would be the only time we would share the experience.

Today, we celebrated our first holiday with the quadruplets. It was so nice to prove to myself that we are still able to do things like we've done in the just takes a little more work (and a lot more packing) to be able to leave the house! The quads and I headed down to meet Lilya (she had spent the night with Papaw Tim), and have lunch with my dad and his family. Lilya was able to go to the parade and celebrate this beautiful day with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and her newest brothers and sister. Oh how I wish it could have been a trip to New Mexico, and even more that I could sit with Grandma, Mom and Donnie to watch fireworks on the front lawn.

I am grateful for the memories that I have, and even more grateful for those that are yet to be made! I hope everyone enjoys their family and friends today! God Bless the USA and all who live here!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Home Sweet Home

It's tough to keep up with the blog when all you want to do is watch your new little ones. We were able to bring home Benjamin, Jaylyn, and Harrison on Thursday, June 16th. It was tough to leave the NICU that day with only three of the four kiddos. I knew that Oscar was in good hands though, so we came home and began to adjust to this new life style. This past Friday, July 1st, we were able to bring home baby Oscar, and make our family complete. I am grateful for the technology that we have today that has allowed us to bring our baby boy home. Oscar has SVT's which causes his heart to race, so he has come home on a monitor that will alarm us if this happens. He is on a medicine called Digoxin, and is responding well, but he is also growing quickly. I am thankful that we have a way of knowing if he medicine is not doing its job. He is expected to outgrow this condition within the first year of his life. We have lots of appointments coming up, so stay tuned for updates and survival tips for traveling with so many newborns!