Monday, November 30, 2015

An Epic Birthday.

I'll bet when you read "epic", you thought of a few words. Wonderful, perhaps? Fabulous? Amazing? The best ever? Well, in this case, the context of epic, was epically bad. But more on that later.

First, a happy Thanksgiving to you all. We had a spectacular day around here. Both of my parents and stepparents, as well as Andy's mom and stepdad, descended on our house, feast in hand. We literally didn't have to lift a finger, including to hold babies, who were cuddled from start to finish. The only blemish on the day was that my awesome sister, The Bug, whose idea the whole celebration was, got sick and was unable to join us. Though the day was wonderful, her presence would have made it a little sweeter. That, and a Packers win. Don't even get me started on our beloved Packers season thus far.

The day after Thanksgiving, our Micah (SweetMicah) came down with a cold, followed quickly by Becker (Spaceman, Squeaks), Roland (The Gunslinger) and Marin Grace (Pork Pie, Baby Girl). Can you imagine having four sick two month olds? It's as bad as you've imagined. I'm pretty sure that Andy was excited to go back to work today.

On another topic, did you know that the 22nd was my due date? That these babies would be just a week old now had I held off until then? Amazing, when I reflect on all they have accomplished in just a couple months; breathing on their own, lifting their heads, trying to roll, smiling, cooing, Marin beating a PDA and a pneumothorax, perfecting a hundred different cries to signal their needs, following rattles with their eyes, taking nearly four ounces from their bottles at each feed, and so many other things that are too numerous to list here.

Here's a little glimpse at then and now.

I call Micah SweetMicah for exactly the reason you'd guess. He is amazingly sweet. If you were to pick him up you'd find that he just melts into you. He's not fussy, he doesn't cry much, he loves to look around, and he loves to make eye contact. He's just, well, sweet. The poor boy did run into a bit of bad luck though. A couple weeks ago he started losing his hair. On top. Only on top. He still has his nice dark side hair, but on top, nothing. With a hat on he looks like his same sweet self, but take off the hat, and you have Terry Bradshaw. Needless to say, it's hat on for now.

Sweet Baby.
Terry Bradshaw.

Little Becker is the comedian of the group. I wish I could tell you why. Is it the squeaks? The squawks? The funny faces? The hair sticking up? All of these? It's hard to say for sure, but whatever it is, he makes everyone laugh. Unfortunately for him, it's even hard to take him seriously when he's crying because that's funny too. He and Roland are tied for lightest baby now at just about seven pounds each, but Becker seems smaller because he's shorter that Roland. He may turn out to be our stocky guy. We'll see, but for now, he's the funny guy.

Roland is wide-eyed and curious. He adores looking around the room, and spends more and more time awake these days. He is crazy about his Sit Me Up Floor Seat. He is also not afraid to let us know when he is displeased. His cry is definitely attention-getting, complete with tears and lip-quiver. Andy thinks Roland is the momma's boy of the pack, and this momma is fine with that! Roland is still a little guy, but getting taller by the day. I'm guessing that he's working on becoming long and lean like dad.

And then there's our Baby Girl. Marin Grace is one of a kind. She's growing every day, and in the last few weeks since she's been able to take a bottle and kicked the feeding tube, her chubby cheeks are beginning to shrink. For a while, the lack of exercising her cheek muscles had her looking an awful lot like Quagmire on Family Guy. She is beginning to look facially proportionate at last! Our little Pork Pie is, however, not without her issues. First, she still goes cross eyed from time to time, though this is getting better every week. Next, I'll try to put this delicately, she struggles with occasional, er, frequent, gas. Last, when she cries, it's less like a baby crying and more like a sheep blatting, if that sheep were two hundred pounds and using a megaphone. Despite all this, we couldn't be crazier about her. I just melt when she looks at me, and when she smiles I'd probably give her chocolate if she asked. She's becoming quite the little charmer, despite her less ladylike moments.

Many people ask how we feed four babies. When Andy and I are both at home, we feed two at a time. When Andy is at the office, the old adage, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" proves true. I feed whoever is grumpiest first, then the other two. The strongest feeder goes on the side and the weaker on our laps. My Aunt Jayne captured the feeding routine, as well as a lot of the other photos posted today, during her visit Saturday, when she dropped off about two thousand diapers for the crew. Two thousand, by the way, is not an exaggeration. The diapers, the visit, and the great photos were all much appreciated.

Burping Roland while feeding Micah.

The classic Double Burp.

Okay, on to the epic birthday. Is is Murphy's Law that says anything that can go wrong, will? Well, that's the kind of day we had Sunday, which happened to be The Hubs Birthday. I can spare you a lot of the details by simply reminding you that we were home with sick quadruplets, and that neither Andy nor I were feeling anywhere near 100% to boot.

The evening, fittingly, was just as bad as the rest of the day had been. Let me try to set the scene for you. I was upstairs with the babies, at least two of which were screaming at the top of their lungs at all times. The babies not screaming were busying themselves alternating between coughing and sneezing. Every four and a half seconds or so I was sucking snot out of one of them with the NoseFrida, a nifty tool which allows me to neatly suck gobs of snot using my own mouth and a flexible tube. Yes, gross.

Andy, in an attempt at a much needed escape, decided to head to the basement to start construction a base for the new, quad sized washer and dryer we have arriving tomorrow. (Note: When I say quad sized, I do not mean that we will be putting babies into the washer or dryer, but that the capacity will be large enough to allow us to keep up with the massive amount of laundry the quads generate. Please do not email me imploring me not to put babies in the appliances.) I suspect that the combined music of screaming, sawing and drilling would have quickly driven any visitors out the door that night!

As he worked, Andy, ever a keen observer, noted a change in his environment, namely the sudden appearance of a liquid. Dripping. On his head. A less than pleasant smelling liquid. When he came upstairs to learn the source of the liquid, it was discovered that our Beagle Dog, Lambeau had chosen that moment to pee on the wood floor. To give you a better sense of how incredible this is, let me clarify the following. I can count only a handful of times that Lambeau has ever gone to the bathroom in the house. It happens maybe once a year. Maybe less. Couple that with the fact that Andy spends probably less than ten minutes per year standing in that precise spot in the basement. Add to that the fact that his Birthday rolls around just once per year, and the fact that these three events came together on the same day at precisely the correct moment makes the whole thing pretty incredible. I think Andy will come to see the humor in it. Someday.

I leave you with a video of all the peanuts looking pretty darn cute, just being themselves. As the late, great Fred Rogers would say, "I like you just the way you are".

Until next time!

Jen and Andy
SweetMicah, Spaceman, The Gunslinger and Pork Pie

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


While the babies are on strict TV ban, we do encourage music around here, which often leads to dancing. Becker, as you can see, took to it like a fish to water. Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2015

The More Things Change...

Remember ages ago when I told you I was a control freak?  Apparently that hasn't changed. Andy is upstairs with Becker and Roland and I have Micah and Marin downstairs. I've been sitting here thinking that I should move Marin over by Micah and me. Marin Grace, however, is Baby D and Baby D belongs in the D position in our little line. So there she sits, way over there, because my psyche cannot handle her being in the "wrong" spot. Yes, I understand I'm not well. Hopefully she won't be telling this to a psychiatrist in fifteen years!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Marin & the Murder of Mielers. Alternate title: You Complete Me.

Last week Marin seemed to decide it was time to work on breaking free, so it was not a surprise when Friday we got the call that she would likely join us the following day. To this emotional mother the day seemed both like the end of an era and the start of our next amazing adventure, so I asked Andy how he would feel about gathering the whole family for the big event. After some good natured eye rolling, Andy agreed that getting three babies changed, dressed, fed, loaded into carseats, moved to the van, driven to the parking garage, unloaded from the van, carried in carseats across the skyway and up three floors to the NICU, then reversing the process with four babies seemed like a great idea, so the next morning we were off to pick up our baby girl.

One of the most special parts of the day was that our primary nurses, Samantha and Jen, were there to say goodbye. Jen was not even working, but drove the twenty miles over from her town to see the quads again.  If you have been through the NICU experience, you know exactly how we feel about these ladies. If not, perhaps I can paint the picture for you. When the babies were newly born and so tiny and fragile, the machines monitoring their heart rate, oxygen, and breathing rate caused a constant chorus of beeps and alarms through their area of the NICU. For new parents, unfamiliar with either the alarms or the accompanying colored lights, the reassurance of the nurses was an enormous comfort. The hospital gave each baby a little book for their milestones, and Jen was meticulous about recording each new achievement and pasting them to the books. Our wonderful first month footprint cards were a lovely and unsolicited gift from Sam. I can't imagine how many hours I passed in our little corner of the world rocking babies as I talked to these amazing ladies about nothing, and everything. There came in point in our stay when it seemed that the boys were making such amazing progress and Marin, to my eyes, was taking only steps back. As I stood near tears next to Marin's isolette, Sam came to my side, and, as if reading my mind, told me how wonderful Marin was doing, that it was only that the boys were doing so much better than expected that made Marin seem slower by comparison. What had been a moment of despair had quickly been turned to a moment of joy and pride by the kind and timely words.  As time passed and the boys began to come home, with each new baby at home I was able to spend less time at the NICU with the remaining babies. By the time only Marin was left, my time with her was an hour or less per day. I don't know how I would have gotten through those last couple weeks without the comfort of knowing that Marin was under the care of people who knew her and cared for her. We will never forget Sam and Jen or the contribution they made to the early days of our family.

That night we had planned to attend a small family get together, a chance we wouldn't likely have again until after flu and RSV seasons have passed in the spring. Though it had been only a few short hours since Marin had come home, we decided not only to keep the date, but to surprise the family with Marin. Andy had left for a couple hours to run a couple errands, but planned to back in plenty of time to help me with changing, feeding, dressing and getting the babies into their carseats and van. Unfortunately, Andy got delayed and I was on my own for the first ever foursome feeding. As you might imagine, it was not smooth. I had fed the boys on my own many times, however the whole group naturally chose my first solo feed and the first time we were trying to get out the door at a specific time for their first epic group meltdown. There was screaming, squirming, squeaking, squawking, and a variety of projectile fluids as I tried desperately to get them ready for my mom's house, and hopefully clean!

Thanks to my sister, who insists she did not go "a little crazy" shopping at Carter's, we had plenty of cute outfits from which to choose.
And wonder of wonders, we arrived safe and sound, clean and fresh, and only thirty minutes behind schedule. I handed off the three boys, covered in their carseats, to family, and was delighted by the shouts of joy and excitement as I pulled the unexpected fourth seat out. Hubs joined the party shortly after and we had a fabulous evening enjoying Uncle Dave's legendary fried fish and homemade coleslaw. The babies were a hit and we enjoyed many proud parent moments as everyone exclaimed over and over how wonderful they were. I couldn't agree more.

Grandma's first group hug!

Grandma snuggling with Roland.

My lovely cousins, Megan and Laura, enjoying time with Micah and Becker. Laura and Micah were inseperable most of the evening. 
Aunt Jayne hadn't seen the babies since her visit to the NICU over a month ago. They've changed so much since then.

Uncle Dave was pretty smitten.

Marin was wiped out from all the excitement.

Having four babies at home has been a challenge at times, but accompanied by so much joy. Filling the fourth crib felt absolutely amazing and I could't be happier to have the whole group together at last. I think Marin feels the same way.

The new Packer hats are courtesy of Grandma Le Blanc's hairdresser in Green Bay. The timing was great as they had just outgrown their first Packer hats. Sadly, the team spirit from this Pack has not helped the Pack win the last three weeks.

It warms my heart to see them all together. They love their group snuggles. From bottom: Micah, Marin, Becker and Roland.

Until next time,

Andy & Jen
Micah, Becker, Roland & Marin