For those of you who know me…

For those of you who know me, know I’m a bit nostalgic. I believe this appreciation for the past and joy from recollecting was instilled in me by my dad. I enjoy reminiscing about times that have gone by, sometimes to a fault, in that I miss the present or plan too much for the future. But, nevertheless, I cherish days like today- Memorial Day- for taking a time out to look back.

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One year ago today, I was lying in a hotel in Mesa, AZ. I had just been discharged from the local hospital after having a surgery that saved our pregnancy. I did not know what the days ahead would bring, but knew that in a few hours I would have to drop Frank off at the airport and spend the next days alone.

For those of you who know me, being away from home is not my specialty. I have always been a homebody. I am perfectly content hanging out at home. While I appreciate others’ love for travel, I generally have little interest. So, needless to say moving to Arizona was not something I would have chosen to do.

For those of you who know me, know that I strive to walk with God. It truly has been a bumpy road, of straying here and there. But, as I reflect on this Memorial Day, I see how God’s hand was guiding our footsteps during that treacherous time. We had found out on that Monday that we were going to lose our pregnancy and the medical team shared with us that there was nothing we could do about it. The parents of other quintuplets told me differently. When I learned of the surgery that had prolonged other high order multiple pregnancies the answer was easy; I needed that surgery. I recall wrestling with this decision in my mind. I saw two choices: Stay here in WI where I was comfortable and await the impending miscarriage, or hop on a plane to AZ to see the best maternal and fetal medicine specialist in the world. After we decided to choose life, God granted me peace. My fear had passed away, and this new sense of calm and strength arose. I take no credit for this change, but was merely witness to it. 28wk_diagram1

For those of you who know me, know that I have a rich inner life. I may be an ambivert on the Meyers Briggs, but I believe I’m a true introvert. I process life on the inside and share with those I trust. So, why would a true introvert write such a telling message? It is to brag, but not on myself. It is to testify to the guiding grace of God the Father, His humble Son and His Spirit.

I feel like I blinked and a year has flown by. Every day is an opportunity of worship. I look at my children and sometimes forget in the moment where they were 10 short months ago. I see them kicking and rolling and can recall them doing that when they were all crammed in my tummy. I stand in their nursery and just watch as all of their little heads pop up like little prairie dogs from their cribs in the morning. I dreamed of moments like that. Our children are a true joy and a challenge wrapped up into one little package

So, on this day when we are beckoned to remember, I encourage you to first and foremost thank those who have served our country. Remember those who have fallen for it. But, also take a moment to remember and recall the miracles in your life. For you are loved!

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Ellie is 9 months!

Elliott

Elliott 2

Nicknames: Ellie, Ellie Rose, E. Rose & Baby Girl

Birth Length: 14.9 in

Current Length: 26 in

Birth Weight: 2.41 lbs

Current Weight: 16 lbs

Favorite toy: Anything Kali is playing with.

Elliott

Favorite Past-time: Rolling from toy to toy, Swiping toys from her siblings & Snuggling with her big brother

BFF_T&E

Mastered Milestones: Rolling to and fro,

Developing Milestones: Sitting up by herself, Crawling

Personality Traits: Sweet, Observant and a bit demanding

Lily is 9 months!

Lillian

Nicknames: Lily, Lily-Bug, Love-Bug, Lilyput, LG, & Lil SmileyLily 2

Birth Length: 14.6 in

Current Length: 26.1 in

Birth Weight: 2.69 lbs

Current Weight: 15.7 lbs

Favorite toy: Her pacifier and “magic” blanket

Favorite Past-time: Playing Peek-a-boo and playing Lily-gician making her pacifier disappear

Mastered Milestones: The best fine motors skills in the bunch (watch out for her pincer grasp!), Initiates games, standing with assistance

Developing Milestones: Sitting up by herself, crawling

AngryLily

Personality Traits: Silly, Strategic, and definitely a bit Jealous

Kali is 9 months!

Kāli Mae Kali_Raspberry2

Nicknames: K-Mae, K, Monkey-Mae, Sunshine

Birth Length: 13 in

Current Length: 26.3 in

Birth Weight: 2.29 lbs

Current Weight: 17.5 lbs

Favorite toy: The Atom, Popping Giraffe

Favorite Past-time: Playing in the forest, practicing her yoga poses (happy baby) and swimming on her tummy

Kali

Mastered Milestones: Sitting up by herself, Standing with assistance, 2 bottom teeth!

Developing Milestones: Crawling

HappyBaby_Kali

Personality Traits: Sweet, Observant, Silly, Imaginative

Bella is 9 months!

Isabella

Goofy Bella

Nicknames: Bella, Bella Bean & Bells

Birth Length: 15.7 in

Current Length: 25.7 in

Birth Weight: 2.49 lbs

Current Weight: 15.7 lbs

Favorite toy: Anything that rattles

Favorite Past-time: Blowing raspberries and banging rattles together

Girl Talk with Kali

Girl Talk with Kali

Mastered Milestones: 1 lonely bottom tooth, Sitting up by herself

Developing Milestones: Crawling and Standing with limited assistance

 

Gpa&Bella2

Personality Traits: Strategic, Goofy, Aggressive
 

Theo is 9 months old!

Theodore Joseph

Tough Guy

Nicknames: Theo, Teej, Goober (because he’s sweet on the outside and a total nut on the inside)

Birth Length: 14.5 in

Current Length: 27.2 in

Birth Weight: 2.87 lbs

Current Weight: 20.5 lbs

Favorite toy: Frozen teething rings and Sophie the Giraffe

Chewing Theo

Favorite Past-time: Rolling from the couch, to the toy box, to the door, to the hardwood floor, to the…ending at mommy’s feet. Ransacking his sisters

Mastered Milestones: Sitting up by himself, rolling to and fro, standing with assistance and 2 bottom teeth!

Developing Milestones: Crawling

Personality Traits: Goofy, Loud, Rough, 110% boy

UhOhTheo

Feliz Nueve Meses

The quint’s 9-month celebration warrants yet another series to look at where each of the V5 are today! In three short months they have become not only more verbal, social and mobile, but also more strategic, witty and goofy!

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Key priorities for mom and dad are to continue to help these kiddos:

  • Learn to crawl.
  • Hold their own bottles.
  • Eat soft, solid foods.
  • Learn to communicate with simple words and sign language.

Let’s Get Moving!

There are several gross motor milestones that precede crawling that help to build the body’s strength and coordination, including:

  • Holding one’s head in line and upright when pulled to sitting (3-6 months)
  • Bears weight on hands when lying on tummy (3-6 months)
  • Ability to sit with light support (3-6 months)
  • Rolling from stomach to back and back to stomach in both directions (3-6 months)
  • Sitting independently with the ability to right one’s balance and extend arms for protection (6-9 months)
  • Able to get into a sitting position independently (6-9 months)
  • Standing when holding on (6-9 months)
  • Crawls backward (6-9 months)
  • Able to pull to a standing position (6-9 months)

No one is crawling just yet, but all of the quints are able to sit up in some capacity, crawl backwards (or scoot), stand when being held and roll. While some say that some children do not crawl, or crawl for very long, we hope that ours do because of all the benefits of crawling:

  • Develops a sense of depth perception and location along with skills on how to navigate the environment.
  • Encourages decision making, focus and attention.
  • Requires that a baby connect a series of motions and increases coordination.
  • Develops muscular strength and stretches ligaments in the wrist and hands needed for fine motor skills.

Look what I can do!

While all of the quints are between a 6-9 month year old in terms of their gross motor skills, they are championing their fine motor skills! They can reach and hold large and small objects. They are able to manipulate objects in one hand and both hands. Lily has been mastered the pincer grasp! Other’s are still working on getting their pointer finger away from their hand; but all can now extend their thumb from their fingers! This skillset is critical for not only playing with more complex toys, but eating!

We are preparing to start finger foods! The only delay is mom’s fear of the impending mess that awaits after every meal. Arts and crafts time is about to get very real as we start to experiment with:

  • Soft Bananas
  • Cooked Carrots
  • Meatballs
  • Oat-based cold cereals

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Our five little monkeys are now keen observers. Many of our friends and family have noted how the kids what their every move. They are also much more social and communicative. We catch them “chatting” not only with each other but with their toys. We are also proud that their expressive communication and cognitive skills are tracking with their age:

Kali

Expressive Communication:

  • Babbles to people with inflection and produces a variety of consonants.
  • Vocalizes loudly to get attention.

Language Comprehension:

  • Looks and focuses on people, pictures and pets.
  • Responds to simple gestures.
  • Looks for family members when named (we are still working on this one).

Cognitive Skills:

  • Works to obtain items out of reach, and able to locate a hidden object.
  • Plays 2-3 minutes with one toy.
  • Touches a toy or adult to restart an activity.

Their social skills also surpass their age. They have long been able to recognize mom and dad, as well as, who is new (or a stranger). However, now all of them either calm easy when mom or dad are out of the room, or are completely content. They also all smile at images in a mirror- needless to say- Theo and Bella love themselves some mirror-time!

We also have been working on simple sign language for about the last 3-4 months. No one is able to sign back just yet, but I do believe they are beginning to connect the signs with the objects. The signs we have started with are:

Mama

Mama

 

Dada

Dada

 

Nana/Grandma

Nana/Grandma

 

Grandpa

Grandpa

 

Milk

Milk

 

More

More

 

All Done

All Done

 

Eat 

Eat

 

I Love You

I Love You

 

We also have been using their signed letters for their names:

B for Bella

B for Bella

 

 

E for Elliott

E for Elliott

 

 

I for Isabella

I for Isabella

 

K for Kali

K for Kali

 

L for Lily

L for Lily

 

T for Theo

T for Theo

 

I am still amazed everyday at how learning can be a very independent process, and how we naturally develop all of these skills given that we have a safe, conducive environment to do so. I often feel like our little blessings teach me much more than I will ever teach them. I am so grateful for the new and maturing fruits in my life (patience, flexibility, changing priorities, appreciating each moment) that they continue to encourage with each day.

In the coming days, we hope you enjoy each quint’s individual snapshot!

*ASL images are from BabySignLanguage.com