Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Year, New Beginnings...

Check out the diaper bum on little Cam... that's right -it's official.

We have went cloth folks!

My mom and dad are fairly convinced that I am going to scare off any help I have by taking on this new endeavor - but seriously - it's going great! And, thankfully, BLESS THOSE VOLUNTEERS!!! Most of them used cloth anyhow so they are being good sports about it all =)

We are about 3 weeks into the new system and, yes, there is certainly a reason I waited to write. We had our ups and DOWNS figuring it all out for the first week or so. But that Ruth from Eastfield Laundry has been AMAZING and acutally came out to the house to give us a private tutorial on how to get 'er going - wow - night and day with a bit of practice.

Let me be the first to tell you that there is nothing fun about CHANGING FOUR BABIES OUTFITS EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU CHANGE THEIR DIAPERS.

Wow. Talk about time consuming.

But now we are pros - and we are using the most simple system ever - the one that most of our mother's or at least grandmothers used. Good old fashioned prefolds with rubber pants.

Roger that.

It's ubber cheap and it works. Period.

We tried some of the super fancy stuff but honestly like this system the best!! We have some really nice handmade cloth diapers and a bunch of different brands of the fancy smancy expensive pocket/all in one/etc. ones. But when you are diapering FOUR at a time - you don't want any additional laundry with those covers and the plastic is totally LEAK PROOF.

This is key to survival.

Plus, Eastfield Laundry - whom we LOVE because they took a chance on this whole diaper laundering thing for us - actually PICKS UP and DROPS OFF the prefolds. And even gives us these big ole pails with a awesome smelling "green" solution to dump them in and they take it from there!


Cloth is good.

And, to add to our thrifty-save-the-world campaign we are also using washclothes instead of wipes... Jeremy isn't quite THRILLED about that one, but he's being a trooper. And it is astounding how much money we have saved by changing over to reusable resources!

I honestly believe that it is not THAT much more work for us at this point - and the babies seem perfectly fine with them. We had to bump them all up a clothes size because the cloth really do take up a LOT MORE space than disposables - but no biggie there... except mommy trying to do the clothes swap/put away again. Holy toledo!

I will say that I think this cloth diaper cover thingy has a lot of room for improvement, though. And I KNOW that everybody and their brother has come up with their own system! But, seriously... doing 4 at a time has given us a pretty good idea of what works and what clearly does NOT because we have very little tolerance for the latter. We want plastic pants with velcro closure. That's it. It'd still be super economical (these fancy ones are OUTRAGEOUS!) and work with the prefolds. I have tried looking but can not seem to find anything that is still on the market like that? It looks like their USED to be, but the products are "no longer available"? Maybe it doesn't work as great as it sounds? If you know otherwise, let me know!

Here is the problem we have found with the traditional plastic pants over prefolds:

Scenario #1: You have a really wet diaper. Pretty much HAVE to touch the wetness to get at the diaper and get that elastic cover off. If you check to see that it is ONLY wet you can test your ability to get off the prefold and cover in fell swoop - after you unhook the prefold (pins or other closure). If you don't get it off all at once? You pull off cover and then have a really wet diaper sitting on your changing table/next diaper (preloading a good idea)/outfit - ick. Granted, not the end of the world - we use a prefold under them and then can just throw it in the bucket and get a new one each time if needed - but it adds to laundry.

Scenario #2: You have a dirty diaper. No option to pull everything off at once. Why? Because you will quickly find your baby's legs and feet doused in poop, folks. It is what it is. I can't think of any other way to tell you and it's repulsive. DRAGGING a poopy diaper down their legs and off just is not in the cards. So once you get the prefold un-hooked (I always do this first by reaching inside), you have to take off the cover on it's own and try not to let the dirty diaper touch the changing table/next diaper/outfit (Double EWWW!!!). If you do not just use another prefold here you are going to go through a lot of changing pads!

Anyhow, I think I just made this cloth thing sound bad - but it's really not. I'm just walking you through the two worst scenario's that we have found after using them for a month incase you are interesting in giving 'er a go! And, let's be honest, they are NOT that bad. I totally think velcro, like with a disposable, would solve 90% of these issues!! But I have yet to find an inexpensive velcro, WATERPROOF cover.


Here's some pics of our fam... enjoy!

Jeremy and the big boys when we got out sledding!

Summer Girl fell asleep sitting up watching (guess?) football with daddy...

Smiley Cam - melt your heart!

Aiden and Caleb enjoying Miss Stephanie's jello in the tub... they heard it's good for your skin? Hmmm...

And the cannibals at the end would like to thank Miss Heidi for starting up our meals again - what an enormous blessing!!! And her chicken dish made them feel so manly - getting to eat it with their HANDS and OFF A BONE!!!

What a hero you are in our house, Heidi - thanks for everything you do for us...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Merry Christmas & Happiest of New Years!

Would you look at this family picture?


Yes, it is a bit on the nutty side - BUT WE LOVE IT!

Obviously, this crew wasn't going far from home base so we are eternally grateful that our family all made the trek up north to be with us at some point over the holidays. Auntie Kristy wins first prize for longest drive, all the way from Gainsville, Florida baby!! Every single member of our immediate families were up over the course of the last 3 weeks - yahoo!

And our chitlins tried not to disappoint with mayhem as usual over here - I swear people are almost bummed when they are over and it's all Q-U-I-E-T... but it does happen now that we are on a pretty regular schedule! (all subject to change on about 5 minutes notice)

Plus, the big boys and I had a blast making all our Christmas presents this year - every single one was homemade... we have never done 100% before and we may never go back - it was so rewarding for our whole family to work together and see the boys satisfaction in what they had created ALL ON THEIR OWN! We made cookie jars, drink coozies with puffy paint personalization, wood picture frames, candy baggies, and - the monster of all cool ideas - our personalized wine and beer gifts for the adults! I would show you pics, but, seriously, Jeremy think we are the FUNNIEST people ever coming up with this idea!! Oh, and until we brew our own beer and wine we may have some copyright issues - hee, hee... but a hint? Six pack for six kids, folks. And Jeremy and I spent a date night laughing our heini's off as we came up with all the names - Cale Ale anyone? SHOOT!

Genius... simply genius around here.

Anyhow, we also set records with the coolest Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. You think this is some joke? Nuh uh. Sucker only held plastic 'indestructable' ornaments and our hand made popcorn strings... one for the string, one for us, one for the string... we didn't get TOO far on that task...and our angel at the top nearly capsized our little beauty. Truck only lights? Forget about it. This is the stuff that memories are made of.

Other awesome highlights? Our spectacular gingerbread cookie decorating contest - you wanna' talk heated competition - whoa. Auntie Jess and Auntie Kristy were squaring off something fierce - with Grammie pulling the sneak attack at the end. Thankfully Aiden, Caleb, and mama T were all about our mounds of icing to ensure maximum candy stackability.

Where it's at.

Also had the opportunity to take the big boys ice skating for the first time (uh - mommies first time as well - yikes!)! Wow. I've really tried resisting for a long time because, well, because I wasn't sure that I could handle the two of them when I couldn't keep off my arce myself, and because I was petrified they would take it as a green light to play ice hockey. Uhhhh NO. This fam does not have the time nor resources to pour into a sport like that - we have watched our friends and neighbors do it and they are NUTS. But - ice skating certainly was a huge success and we had papa here to pick up the pieces... of mommy.

We also had some huge weigh-ins over holiday at the RSV clinic - fierce competition and some restructuring of the weight line up with the quads:

Dane - 12#3oz

Brock - 11#14oz

Cam - 11#12oz

Summer - 9#6oz

WHOA! Yes, Dane is still holding his heavy weight title - but Brock has made some serious gains in his quest to over take the lead! Poor Cam - he's not so happy about relinquishing his 2nd place status... but the lil guy was sick! And Summer, well, she's just our peanut. She doesn't appear to have any interest in this race to bulk up - she throws her weight around in other arenas around here (how can dressing a little girl be SO MUCH FUN!?!?!)!!

Being home with all the kids for about 2 full weeks with just myself and papa (Grammie and Jeremy still worked except the holidays) really gave me a chance to get a GOOD schedule in order and try for some consistency. So - here it is - a typical day in the life of a Lew Quad:

5:30-6:30am -- wake up and EAT, EAT, EAT! Exhausted. Fall back asleep. (chalk one up for mommy and daddy!)

7:30-8:00am -- wake up again and SMILE, PLAY, SMILE! Another day - WOOHOO!!

9:30am -- morning snack (~2ounces) After all the playing need to refuel!

10:00am -- Exhausted. Nap...

11:00am-noon -- wake up and CHOW! Then play as hard as possible!

1:00-3:00 -- nap/play/nap/play... I just can't decide! Mostly nap...

3:30-4:00pm -- wake up and EAT! Play, smile, play!

5:00-5:30pm -- little siesta to prepare for night time fun? usually about 1/2 hour nap.

6:00-7:30pm -- No holds barred at the Lew house - all systems a-go! That "after dinner" hour: big boys are nuts, babies are lovin' the entertainment... mommy and daddy are wondering what the noise level would register?

8:30-9:00pm -- Nighty night babies! See you in your dreams...

11:30-midnight -- dream feed (refer to previous blogs for details...)

Repeat sequence.

Not too shabby, eh? We think it's going awesome! But we are getting a little nervous that we should be done with dream feeds soon so that they don't get in the HABIT of needing to eat around midnight - you know? Maybe in another week or so we'll give 'er a whirl.. start b y decreasing the amount they get at those feeds and wean them off it. It's weird because, again, we never did these "dream feeds" with our other kids and we had them sleeping through the night by 3 months (YAHOO!) - but because the quads were 2 months early we feel like they are just at that 3 month mark now anyhow... or at least that's what everybody keeps telling us to remember =) I really think that it's just tougher to get 4 little ones sleeping through the night because they really do get each other going if you allow them too much time to "figure it out" on their own before intervening. There is just a lot riding on the fact that you could quickly go from one awake to, gulp, 4 wide awake! We'll see how it goes as we transition here.

Cross fingers.
It's just so freaking fun with these little critters over here - a giggle fest now with all of them checking each other out and they LOVE watching their big brothers entertain them! Our favorite past times include dazzling the babies with our high-flying acrobatics (as performed on Grammie's bed... hey - even the Ringling Brothers had to start somewhere, right?) - we are off the freaking hook if Ifailed to mention it.
And speaking of fun - our New Years was great! Jeremy and I actually had sitters and were able to go up to Jess & Hans' house to enjoy some adult time with my girlfriend Dana, her hubby Steve, Cousin Mandy, Auntie Kristy, and my 'rents!!! How on earth did the Lews have sitters on the most coveted babysitting night all year? Well, the text message I received went a little something like this: 'Hi! Just wondering what you are doing for New Years? Bradley and I would love to come over and watch the kids if you want to go out." Uhhhh... what? Yes, it is at this point that we want to give a GI-NORMOUS shout out to our long-lost Bellaire babysitter Lauryn Alger and her fiance' Bradley. Not only did they CONTACT US about New Years, but they DROVE ALL THE WAY FROM BELLAIRE to be here! Oh, and by the way, they are in college, like 21 years old, and could probably think of a FEW OTHER PLACES they might rather hang out on New Years... FYI. But Noooooo... instead they lugged themselves over to Traverse City (about an hour away) to chill wit' a 2 & 4 year old and 4 little 5 month olds to ring in the new year!!
And I'M nutty?
I don't have ANYTHING on these two!!
No, but really, they are not nutty - they are just two of the sweetest, most mature people you could ever meet.
Alright, let's be honest... I'm SURE that Lauryn bribed Bradley - at first I honestly thought that maybe she was trying to scare him off or something? I mean, who DOES that? Poor dude didn't know what was coming, that's for darned sure =) Especially since we made it mandatory that they stayed the night too.
I know.
Do we know how to push our luck or what? But there was NO WAY that we could live with ourselves putting them back out on the road at like 2am on New Years - it was WAY too far to drive.
And yet they still agreed!
We love you Lauryn and Bradley!
Happy New Year, y'all! Our family has so much to look forward to (we think?) - this is the year that we will find our new family a home, Aiden will go to Kindergarden, Caleb will finally run the roost with Aiden gone during the day, and our beloved quadruplets will learn to walk and talk... holy smokes.
You'd better hope that we don't end up in YOUR neighborhood.