Her First Year: Elliott Rose

Last born by seconds. Our baby girl.  Sweet as she is stubborn. Independent by nature. The best self soother. One determined little girl.

Most likely to walk first. Will likely be the most compliant child.  Most likely to land a job in the C-suite.

Ms. Elliott Rose.

Her First Year: Kali Mae

The fourth born. Loud from the start, our screecher monkey. Queen of the steam roll. Expressions that make your heart smile.  A face you can read like a book.

Most likely to steal your toy with no regard. Will likely stand on her head before her feet. Most likely to have her name mispronounced correct them with a smile.

Ms. Kali Mae.

Her First Year: Isabella Marie

The second born. The big sister by seconds. A petite princess. A blower of raspberries. A true Daddy’s girl.

Most likely to be a dancer, singer, musician, or all three. Will most likely break a few boys’ hearts.

Ms. Isabella Marie

His First Year: Theodore Joseph

The first born. The big brother. The maker of trouble. Daddy’s mini-me. Mama’s big boy. Nana’s little buddy.

Most likely to steal your milk, and your leftover potatoes. Will most likely break a window, a bone, or both at the same time. Most likely to drive you crazy and melt your heart.

Mr. Theodore Joseph

Lily is 9 months!


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


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

Spring has Sprung


Spring has [finally] sprung here in Madison! So, what have the quints been up to while they awaited spring?

The V-5 want to thank Culvers for these stylish onesies and their support since day 1!
The V-5 want to thank Culvers for these stylish onesies and their support since day 1!

Well, they have been eating like champs and are up to 3 solid meals per day. A typical day of meals would be 2-3 T of oatmeal with yogurt and bananas for breakfast, 2-3 T of beef or chicken with squash and potatoes for lunch, and dinner rounds out the day with 2-3 T of a green veggie, vegetarian protein (chickpeas, tofu or eggs) and a healthy fat (avocado).

When the kids aren’t feasting at meals, they tend to be trying to gum each other or anything within 5 inches of their mouth, munch on their toes, or blow raspberries.


Theo's constantly going for those toes!
Theo’s constantly going for those toes!


...Or his sister's hair! Poor Kali Mae.
…Or his sister’s hair! Poor Kali Mae.

Another favorite past-time at 8 months is teething. Frank and I joke that getting teeth is a very inefficient process… 2 years of tears times five, well may be times seven. When all start moaning and groaning, hoping for those choppers, we gently ask them for results, and no more excuses. All are also working hard on learning how to crawl. They are all pros at the infamous Sphynx pose, as well as, rolling over. Theo is the closest to getting wheels. His efforts and dedication to learning to crawl are truly admirable. However, at this point he is easily frustrated and tends to opt for rolling like a log to get to and fro.

The kids are also barely big enough to fit into their dining table, which- for now- is a play place.

Smiley Ellie
Smiley Ellie
Cute Kali
Cute Kali
Lillian Grace
Lillian Grace
Goofy Bella
Goofy Bella

It is also the official meeting space for Girl’s Club Meetings…sorry no boys allowed!

Girls Club meeting


The V-5 have also been patiently awaiting their first adventure around the neighborhood. They took their first stroll this past weekend…and they appeared to be less than thrilled about it.


Theo, Kali and lil Red Riding Hood (Elliott)
Theo, Kali and lil Red Riding Hood (Elliott)


Lily, the garden gnome, and Bella ready for a stroll.
Lily, the garden gnome, and Bella ready for a stroll.

Despite, the lack of smiles and giggles that we anticipated, they looked pretty darn cute sporting their new spring jackets!

Lil Red RIding hood
Ellie Rose
Bella hood
Theo says hi
Mr. Theo
Lily hood
Kali hood
Kali Mae



Dedication Celebration

The Vanderwall quints have started the New Year with a celebration!

Grandpa Brett, Nana B and the V7
Grandpa Brett, Nana B and the V7

This past Saturday we dedicated our children to God at Blackhawk Church here in Madison. It was an amazing experience to gather with family and friends. I have to admit it was difficult to take in the service as I was surveying our children and trying to keep track on when it was our turn. But, as I sit and write this post I am reflecting on the “village” that was present to support our family in this intentional dedication, and what dedication truly means. I- again- am overwhelmed by how God’s love and provision continues to wash over are family.

On stage with Grandpa Turzy, Grandpa Brett, Nana, their Godparents (Alex & Danielle) at Blackhawk Church's Child Dedication.
On stage with Grandpa Turzy, Grandpa Brett, Nana, their Godparents (Alex & Danielle) at Blackhawk Church’s Child Dedication.

Overall, the day went very well. The kids looked adorable in their outfits, they did great in church, and we were able to celebrate this faith-filled moment alongside the people that mean the most to us: their grandpa’s, grandma (Nana), God-parents (Alex and Danielle), and very close friends.

The Whitakers and the V-7
The Whitakers and the V-7

The dedication concluded with a personal blessing for our children, read by Alex, and a prayer from the youth pastor.


Our personal blessing reads:

Dearest Theo, “God’s Gift” to us, Isabella, who we “Devote to God,” Lillian and Kali, our “Pure ones,” and Elliott, who reminds us “Jehovah is God.”

May the Lord always walk with you on your journey in life, and sprinkle you with His love and light.

May you learn to love with kindness and grace, and know within your soul: Truth, courage and faith.

You will be wrapped in the warmth of family and friends, and our love for you will never end.

Today, we present you to God, your Holy Father, and commit you to Him for His glory and no other.

We also chose a life verse for each one.

For Theo, Corinthians 16:13-14. “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous.Be strong. And do everything with love.”


For Bella, 1 Peter 3:3-4 “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”


For Lily, Ephesians 2:8-10. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand,that we should walk in them.”

Smiley lily

For Kali, Philippians 4:8-9. “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

The Kali Smirk

For Ellie, Psalm 139:13-14. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”


Five Little Angels

A special thank you to Hayley for the beautiful photos that she took of our children at 3 months. She is a very talented photographer. Her patience over the five-hour shoot was divine!

Be sure to check back at her homepage for more Photos by Hayley.

We have a few photos to share below, and are excited for the rest!

Theodore Joseph
Theodore Joseph
Isabella Marie
Isabella Marie
Lillian Grace
Lillian Grace
Kali Mae
Kali Mae
Elliott Rose
Elliott Rose

Elliott Rose

As many of you remember, Ms. Elliott Rose, formerly known as Baby E, has been quite the fighter from day one. Today, she continues to fight and has pulled ahead of the quints and is now breathing on her own! She can even hold her own pacifier and has successfully taken milk from a bottle on one occasion. God’s handiwork and healing is truly miraculous. This little peanut is still the smallest of the bunch, but you wouldn’t know it by her resiliency.

Ellie Rose is another fabulous self-soother. She will lie wide awake for an hour if you let her just looking about her isolette, chewing on her feeding tube and exploring her face with her miniature hands. She also is quite the smiler and can steal your heart in a minute. Of all the quints, she knows our voices the best, which could melt anyone’s heart.

Elliott also loves bath time and being clean. She enjoys being snuggled in her blankets and nest, but will bust out of her swaddle like Houdini if she wants to.  We are so proud of our little Rose for how she has bounced back from her obstacles early on.

Praise God for His mercy on Ellie Rose and please continue to pray for her health and healing.

Isabella Marie

Big sister, Isabella Marie, is the oldest girl but one of the smallest at birth. She is our “I don’t do drama” queen. This blonde Bella has very keen senses of hearing and sight. When the others’ start sounding their alarms, or she has had enough photos for one day the little hands go up and shield her little eyes and ears. Bella also takes the cake (literally) as our best eater and grower. She is tolerating 6 times as much milk as her siblings.  “Beautiful Marie” gets her looks from her Daddy with her light hair, long face and tendency to crinkle her forehead. We are excited to introduce you to our little Bella Bean.

If you click on an image, it will give you a full-screen slideshow of all the pictures.

Not pictured above:

  • When Daddy gets the camera too close or her neighboring brother causes a racket, little Bella flashes her hands Vogue-style until peace resounds. Her little spirit finger-spread has caught on in this NICU pod as her signature move.
  • Our big sis also knows how to grab your attention. She’ll hold her breath just long enough to get mom or dad to pay her a visit and then rebounds back to healthy limits.

We are so thankful that Bella has been the most well of the bunch, evading spontaneous ruptures and breathing issues.  Prayer requests for Isabella include her continued tolerance of her feedings, as well as, sustained growth and development.

Keep coming back to meet Lily, Kali and Ellie, too!