The V5 Turn 5

This year’s birthday felt monumental. Perhaps, it is because we are now a household of school-aged children with friends and these friends joined us in celebrating the V5. Or, perhaps it is because it was a multiple-golden birthday. Even more so, it may have been because the kiddos were more aware than ever what this celebration meant. Either way, it warranted a week-long party! A day for each and a weekend for all!

We kicked off the birthday week with a trip to the Dane County Fair

Earned their Purple-striped Belts

Took a trip to Sassy Cow Creamery and toured their Farm. Of course they had to dress the part.

Woke up at 5am on their Big Day and put on their Friday-best (all by themselves) ready to celebrate!

Celebrated Friday Morning with a trip downtown to meet a few of their favorite characters and to check out a real fire truck

Birthday Cupcakes with a side of Sunbutter and Carrots (No, I didn’t offer the veggies; they asked and it was there birthday so, how could I say no?)

Double B-day Bash Saturday. They loved celebrating with their friends in the morning and family in the afternoon. The mid-day break was just long enough to give this Paw Patrol crew a break.

The week concluded with each getting to break their very own birthday boards at karate!

Many, many thanks to all who made this year’s milestone birthday so special!

Summer, wherefore art thou?

Every August, as Labor Day approaches, we ask ourselves where has summer gone? Time is now flying by at a rate that far exceeds any in the past. These last two months were filled with fun, adventure, milestones and memories. And… I’ll let our pictures tell the store of the summer of 2017!

The V5 were featured on Valley Perinatal Services’ Blog

1 year family photo

Our posts included a special thank you to our miracle-working, perinatologist Dr. John Elliott. In case you are wondering, this individual is who Ellie is named after and her inspiration for one day becoming an Astronaut Physician… who is also a “cat lady;” her words and her dreams.

Lily Said Tata to her Tonsils and Adenoids

This was an adventure, milestone and now a memory. We discovered that Lily had sleep apnea earlier this year and finally had her T&A in late July. She had a rough recovery and needed a second operation the first week in August but now has completely healed. She also finally has her voice back, too! The rest of the V5 were especially supportive to her and now we have a bunch of otolaryngologists running around our home removing tonsils and adenoids on a daily basis.

Enjoyed their 1st Amusement Park- Little Amerika

Nana B, Papa Brett, the quints and I took a little drive to our local amusement park and enjoyed the afternoon speeding in circles.


Swimming Lessons

Swimming this summer was very impressionable! The munchkins were divided for the first time during swimming lessons this year: Theo, Kali and Ellie were in one class and Bella and Lily had their own classes. Bella loved the space to explore independently, however Lily did not enjoy it. This was a lesson for Mom and Dad in planning for 4-k this fall that Lily benefits from a buddy. All in all, it was a solid experience and all advanced!

Fam in Pool

The V5 took on Four

We are four weeks into year four and very excited for preschool which will be starting on the 11th of September. Theo and Lily will be sharing a class and Kali, Bella and Ellie will be in their own class. Thank you all for the birthday wishes and for helping us celebrate our miracles.



Explored Pope Farm Conservancy’s Sunflowers

Look who’s turning two: Elliott Rose

Ms. Elliott Rose

Number five. Sweet Ellie Rose. Despite being the “baby” of the bunch, she acts much like a first born. She is reliable; if you ask Ellie to do something, she does it. She is conscientious and likes things just right. She is a natural caregiver and loves preparing “meals” for her animals, feeding her babies, combing her sisters’ hair and rubbing their backs.

She appreciates structure and can be quite controlling… especially when she’s coloring. Coloring can be quite a stressful activity for little Ellie because she likes to be the bearer of all crayons and tends to be quite the perfectionist. Elliott is very independent, too. Her happy place is alone in a corner with her stuffed kitty and a tag (yes, a tag on her shirt or pants).

Ellie Rose is brilliant; she is our little mad scientist. When she is not organizing toys, enjoying her own home-cooked meal, running laps, or dancing to the music in her little head, you will find her building perfect towers and putting together puzzles. She is a master builder; a 30-piece puzzle is no match for Ellie Rose.

Ms. Elliott we love you bunches and bunches!

Ellie’s Second Year…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Ellie’s First Year…

Look who’s turning two: Lillian Grace

Ms. Lillian Grace

The “middle” child, Ms. Lillian Grace. She is a silly Lily. She is a long-time resident of “goofball island.” With the blink of an eye, she will start gator-chomping and chasing after her siblings. She is also known to be a sloppy smoocher; watch out for her Lily Make-outs.

Lily is a sweet heart and consistently looks out for the needs of her siblings. She is the best at finding whatever they need or are searching for. However, if it’s meal or snack time, Lily looks out for number one. She is constantly on the prowl for leftovers. She eats much faster than everyone; eating by the fistful. She is going to be a tricky one to convert to mindful eating practices. After dinner, you’ll find Lily under the table seeking out scraps, as well as, a “maybe” or two. She is our family dog.

Lily is the most photogenic quint and is always ready with the perfect “cheeseburger” smile. Her crystal blue eyes can melt anyone’s heart, especially her mama’s. I love you, Lil!


Lily’s Second Year…



If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Lily’s First Year…

The V5 have Arrived

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is our pleasure to announce that on the 3rd day of August, 2013, between the hours of 1:48 and 1:50pm, five beautiful new baby Vanderwalls came into the world. That’s right, it’s time to introduce you all to the V5!

First, is big brother Theodore Joseph – he was the first one out of the womb at 1:48 pm, weighing 2lb 14oz and measuring 14.5″. Upon being told by the nurse that he was the only boy, and had a life with four sisters to look forward to, he literally began screaming and kicking. It had everyone in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) laughing. I think he’s going to be a performer. I mean look at his picture, he’s already showing off his first public magic trick – making his feet glow.


Second out of the womb at 1:49pm, was 2lb 7oz Isabella Marie, also measuring 14.5″. Sporting a full head of hair at only 29 weeks, like her brother Theo, she was our first precious daughter to take a breath of real air. Already living up to the meaning of her name “Bella,” she is incredibly beautiful. We’ve requested she be kept away from any other boys in the NICU. I already caught one of the other premie boys eyeing her up on the way in 😉


Born at the same time as Bella, 2lb 11oz, 14.6″ Lillian Grace entered the world with her mouth wide open. She let out a cute little scream then was whisked off to the NICU to join her brother and sister. Adorned in her little stitched hat, she’s certainly making a good case to be daddy’s favorite little girl. Unfortunately for her, this daddy is going to have four favorite little girls, not just one. Let’s not tell her just yet, though 😉 She seems to really be enjoying her self-proclaimed title.


One minute later, at 1:50pm, our third little girl, 2lb 5oz, 13″ Kali Mae, joined her siblings. Kali, who you’ll see already has a striking resemblance to her very handsome father, was a kicker and a screamer from the get-go; further establishing the aforementioned resemblance to her father.


And last, but certainly not least, at 1:50pm Elliot Rose completed the V5’s arrival into the world. 2lb 6oz, 14.5″ Ellie was our little fighter, overcoming a couple weeks of very scary distress in the womb. She proved her tenacity once she exited as well. All of our little blessings performed admirably throughout their first day in the NICU, but it was Ellie who received the highest remarks, breathing all on her own with the least assistance from the NICU staff.


I am also happy to announce that after a medically difficult 12 hours, following delivery, Cassie has turned the corner and is back on track for a swift, full recovery. She made it up the NICU today (Aug 4) and FINALLY got to see our babies for the first time!

V5 Day 1 019

Thank you for all of your continued prayers, hugs, kisses, and well-wishes. We are humbled and most thankful for everyone’s support. Stay tuned for more updates.

Love you all!!!

Daddy V (and the rest of the V7)