Monday, December 31, 2007

Welcome to 2008!

Happy New Year!

2007 has come to a close and we can’t help but reflect on what an amazing year it was. It started out with tragedy as we said good-bye to Chris’s dad on New Year’s Day ( Tragedy quickly turned to praise as we learned we were going to be adding a little one to our family. Praise then turned to panic when we found the news of triplets….quadruplets….oh my goodness! Panic soon turned to faith as we learned to trust the Lord for all of our physical, emotional and financial needs as we anticipated the arrival of our four little ones. The babies arrived and instead of the excitement and relief that a new baby typically brings we were faced with a surgery, breathing issues, and other daily reminders of how fragile these babies still were. Anxiety battled the joy of this birth as we wondered if all four would make it home. And finally, the day came when all four were safe at home. At last, excitement! Yet the excitement soon faded to fatigue, fighting, worrying and wondering again. When were the blessings going to come? As we look back, they were there all along. Every step of the way we have been blessed - to learn and relearn trust, patience, peace and understanding through a tragedy, through a celebration of four little miracles and through the privilege of a challenge to raise four different little babies.

As we look back at our website and scroll through the “Petals of Praise”, journal entries, and slideshows we are quickly reminded of how much we have learned and grown together on this rollercoaster of a year. Through the trials and triumphs, peaks and valleys, we are blessed, thanks to God, our friends and family, and the many others who are helping us along the way. There is no promise that the year ahead will be easier, but we have learned that the easiest years are not necessarily the best.

Check out Mari's latest video creation, aptly titled Blessed, below or click on the link to view it full screen using Windows Media Player (don't forget to turn up your volume).

Mema and Pepa - Congratulations on your 65th wedding anniversary!!! I know the last 29 have been the greatest years of your lives!! (I’m 29, get it?)

So, what's ahead for 2008......stay tuned!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Merry Christmas


Silent Night?

Merry Christmas to us! The quads gave us the best gift ever...sleeping through the night (10pm - 7am)!! They are so sweet though - they give us little presents every day:) Noah is the only one we wake up at 2am to feed because he still needs to catch up. We switched back to a 3-hour schedule so they could load up on calories and get super tired; however, this also makes us super tired because we only get about 45min-1 hour between feeds to get stuff done or, in most cases, nap. Fortunately, the weather has been beautiful (80deg the past few days) so we have been going on walks in the afternoon when there aren't too many people out. The fresh air helps us to re-energize in the afternoon.

As you have seen from the video on the previous post, they are much more vocal and interactive, and do smile quite a bit. Finn is the biggest flirt of all, as he wooed our friend Jen with his golden smile. Jen gave us a great gift last week. She called Mari and told her that she and Rachel were coming over that night to take care of the babies while we went out and that "No" was not an answer. So Mari and I headed out for an exciting evening out of the house together minus the tots to do our Christmas shopping and actually eat inside of a restaurant. That was such a blessing and exactly what friends do for each other.
Daddy's Girls
We are a little lame because we did not put up a Christmas tree, although Mari and I have never put one up before since we typically travel around the holidays. So in true Goerlich spirit, we took the kiddos with us to New York to see the best tree we know.
The quads take center stage in NYC

Friday, December 14, 2007

Crazy Fun

So we've been horrible about calling friends and family, cleaning the house, running errands, getting Christmas cards out yet somehow we found ourselves playing around with our video editing software to create a video compilation. Hope you all enjoy our version of our crazy fun lives right now! To view full screen in Windows Media Player, click on the link below, then click on "Crazy Fun Kids"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Spectacular Spectacle

A day in the life gets even better thanks to our friend, Suz ( we now have a much more efficient hands-free feedings! These little contraptions look a little crazy but work wonders.

Noah & Sophia

You may have noticed in the picture above that Noah's bottle is as big as he is! He is eating more than all of his siblings at about 5 - 6 oz. a sitting. We figure he's either a binge drinker or just making up for lost time. Either way, we'd better let the Aggies know of his skills so he might get an honorary ring. ;)
Noah Says,"I'll grow into it"

Sophia Reading to Her Brothers

Finn & Noah

Finn is always put to bed the same way you see Noah there - wrapped tight and next to his brother. Every time we go in there he's somehow come out of his blanket and finds his way to the bumper.

It's been a while since we've been out of the house and we were getting a little stir crazy so yesterday we decided to take a field trip to Target so we could get some errands done and the babies could get a change of scenery. A trip to the store has now turned into a side show act. Lets all face it, even when we see one new baby out and about we all take a minute to check them out, look at the mom to see if she's in one piece, give her a congratulatory smile and are on our merry way. With four babies it's just natural that people have got to know more. It's too much for just a smile or nod and on with their shopping. Chris and I planned ahead and brought one double stroller and then held one baby each in a baby bjorn, which cut down on the gazes. Still, wondering around we would hear "Oh, Twins!" and then a few seconds later they would have a very astonished look on their face as they realized we were each carrying another baby with us. One gal said to her friend as she's staring at us approaching her, "Look - twins!" The friend says, "No, I think it's four." Gal replies,"Where are the other two?" The friend, "The parents are wearing them." Another lady came up to me while I was looking over a few Christmas cards and stares for a moment and then asks "Are these all yours?" I wanted to reply, "No, I've been collecting them in each of the aisles hoping no one would notice." But instead, I just nod and say, "Yup, and my husband has one more in the next aisle over." Her eyes were as big as saucers.

That's how we roll...
(Finn's in the Baby Bjorn)

Even better is when we headed to the baby section. Here you'll find new moms battling one new infant and you can see the tired look on their faces. We approach and they almost go white. One new mom came over and patted me on the back and could hardly say a word. I feel like this is one of our public services, helping these moms get a sudden burst of new energy knowing the only have one bottom to wipe.

Monday, December 10, 2007

'Tis the Reason for the Season

Finn, Noah, Sophia & Cohen

Happy Holidays! I know it's a little early but when you have 4 babies, you plan and strategize every move ahead of time. I want to step out of baby realm for a minute and work on something I think is cool.

Mari and I finally got to go to church this past Sunday with Busha at home watching the babies. It was such a good message and it really hit home. I know you've heard us say this a million times, but here it is again - we have been blessed tremendously over the past year! Let me give you a little background:

Up until 2006, we had been in a financial bind. With Mari and I both working and making good salaries, we were still in debt and stressed about money. We stepped out on faith and began giving 10% of our salary to our church ( despite having a negative balance in our budget. Fast forward to 2007 - with the news of a quad pregnancy, meaning a ton of medical expenses and Mari not being able to work, the stress of pending financial disaster hit us. We kept our faith, knowing that God would provide. My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Jesus Christ." Phil. 4:19. And guess what happened...people have stepped up and provided for all of our needs and the babies as well. In a nutshell, God will bless you ten times over for giving, though it may not be in the same denomination of that which you gave.

So, your mission (and ours) this Holiday season, is to give like crazy. Step out on faith and first and foremost start tithing at your church if you haven't already. Give to that homeless person on the street, give to a charity, or simply buy your co-worker a latte. Use your worldly resources to benefit others...In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven." Luke 16:9. Do this and "You will be enriched so that you can give even more generously." 2 Cor. 9:11

Mom & Dad Goerlich

One idea I have is in memory of my dad, who passed away on Jan 1, 2007. The link below will take you to the online donation page of MD Anderson where you can specify a donation in honor of Robert Goerlich to benefit gastric cancer research. This is not something you have to give to, but merely an idea and something I know we'll give to.

As we enter the Holiday season, it is very important to remember that it is about giving and not receiving. Remember to give thoughtfully, cheerfully and voluntarily.

Baby Update: They are all doing well and Noah continues to gain weight. They are headed to a sleep specialist because they keep waking up in the middle of the night. ;)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Going Wireless

What a fun (and challenging) week this has been. All of the babies are smiling purposefully and starting to make all kinds of little (or loud) sounds. It never fails that they are all giving the biggest smile of their lives and as soon as I point the camera at them they get all serious. Hopefully we'll catch a shot soon, if not we'll go to the video camera.

We switched Noah back to Elecare formula because he had not gained any weight last week. Since the switch he has gained 2 ounces in the past 3 days and has not thrown up either!
Cohen & Noah arm wrestling to see who eats first
We took Cohen and Finn to the pediatric urologist today because they are still wetting their pants all of the time. Sophia got her 1st hair clippie, which looks, "Oh so cute!" (Mari's words not mine).

Praise God! Cohen and Sophia are now officially off their heart monitors!! Noah and Finn will be off next month. The pediatrician is going to lower Noah's low heart rate level from 80 to 70 beats per minute. His alarm sometimes sounds every 10-30seconds for a span of an hour or more because his HR would drop to 79 and then jump back to 80...then to 77 for5sec then back up to 80. On and off, on and off, and this would drive us nuts, especially at 4am and it seemed to wake these little ones, too.

No hard feelings

Our friend, Jenn from Austin, came into town yesterday and stayed the night - she is brave. She was a big help with the babies, keeping Noah and Sophia for us while we went to the doctor. She such a natural entertaining them. We can't wait for her to come back, and maybe she can bring Ansley next time!

The babies love Jenn and her stories
Poor Jaz is feeling a bit left out and a little jealous sometimes. Our bed is pretty much her only friend right now, which I don't think she really minds. She made it outside to hang with us and Jenn on the deck yesterday - gotta love those 80deg days in December!!

J-dog soakin' up the outdoors in her Christmas best
As our energy fades, your prayers and comments keep us going - so keep them coming!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sleep-deprived.... But Alive

Beautiful photo by Lisa Johnson

Just like with the birth of any baby, lack of sleep becomes a part of the new parents' life. Even though we are now on a 4-hour schedule, we only get about 2.5 - 3 hours of sleep between feedings to either sleep or get things done, like pay bills - we haven't even opened our hospital bills yet which are piled up in a cardboard copy paper box. We have switched our little ones to a faster flow Level 2 nipple so they are now eating much faster - 20-30min as opposed to 45-50min. We are going to try splitting them up into 2 cribs now - bummer!
Urban Cohen

The best part about sleep deprivation is the funny things you do...imagine that! So, back to the funny stuff.....

- I frequently find myself turning on the microwave to heat the water to warm bottles without putting the water in the microwave.

- I changed Sophia's diaper today only to realize the fresh diaper was still sitting beside her after I had snapped her back up and went to throw away the dirty one - the one I put back on her after applying the butt paste.

-Mari went to brush her teeth after lunch and found herself taking her contacts out, going through the bedtime motions as if it were midnight instead of noon.

-As we're burping one of the kiddos we'll forget whether or not they just burped

-Mari speaks in code and will get us in stitches at 3 am. For instance, last night I was feeding Cohen and Sophia. She must've noticed Cohen was dripping milk down the side of his face and needed to burp but instead of saying that, she says "Do you need a blanket for Sophia's bottle?" (This is how we prop the bottle up for one baby so we can burp the other). I say, "Why is Cohen dripping?" She says, "Yes, I think he needs to be burped" I say, "Why don't you just tell me Cohen is dripping." She says, "I just did by suggesting a blanket for Sophia." Confused and amused, I was laughing so hard my side hurt - she starts laughing too - the funny thing is we're both laughing at the other one knowing we are the one that is right.

-I find myself jumping out of bed in a mad dash to heat up bottles before their scheduled feed, only to realize it's 4:30 am not 6 am. (For safety, I am no longer wearing shorts to bed and Mari is still sleeping in her glasses)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas drill

Mema & Pepa with the "4"

Brotherly love - Finn & Noah

Well, the Christmas drill was a success! It took quite a bit of planning, checklists, and choreography to pull it off. Here's a rundown of our plan:
Tuesday PM - create checklist and pack
Wednesday 10 - 11:30am - feed babies, baby play time and pack car with last minute items
11:30 - 11:50am - put babies in car seats, and head out
1:30pm - Galveston ETA if driving approximately 60mph the entire trip so as to arrive right at the scheduled 2pm feeding - yes, we got there early because it is very hard to drive 60mph.
Sophia is safe in Pepa's hands

The smile says it all
It was fun to hang with mema & pepa so they could be with the babies for the 1st time since they were born. Pepa was amazed at how beautiful their heads are and mema was upset that we woke the babies to feed them. Grammie came over after work to cuddle and feed the babies. Our good friends, Heather and Todd, also came over and hung for a while. The babies did very well despite the slight change in routine and different surroundings. We look forward to more road trips with the babies.
Heather & Todd were frisked before they left

Watch out Todd, Heather's got a new man

Grammie lovin' on the babies

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Noah's On the Up and Up!

We've been biting our nails, pacing the floor, just frantically awaiting today's appointment for Noah. Last week we went to the GI/Liver Specialist it was grim and grim. Most babies should gain 150 - 200 grams a week and our little Noah had lost 25 grams for the week - putting him at 6 lbs 7 oz. On top of that, his billirubin count had gone up. So last week we went up to 27 calorie formula and doubled his Liver medication. Today Chris took Noah in and he gained a whopping 800 grams! Now, he and I both think the scale was a bit amiss or he was moving a bit too much becuase the pedi's office had him at 6lbs 12 oz yesterday and the specialist's office had him at 7lbs 9 oz today. Still, on either scale the boy is on the up and up with his weight gain! They drew blood to check his billirubin levels and we should see the good results later today. You know you've been in the hospital too long when you don't fuss with shots but wail with a diaper change - something's just wrong about that. Still, this news is a huge answer to prayer!!

Cohen 11# 9.5oz Sophia 8# 13.5oz Finn 8# 9oz Noah 6# 12oz

Wrestle Mania
Things at home are still crazy fun. We find ourselves hearing babies cry or monitors sounding, but it's only in our heads. Chris and I have mastered feeding the four babies on our own - putting all four in boppies and each feeding two at a time. We've gotten it down to about 40 - 45 min to feed, change and put them to bed in the middle of the night. We've switched to a 4 hour schedule which means one less feeding during the day and more time in between feeds to get things done around the house. We now feed at 6, 10, 2 around the clock and have wake time for about 1.5 - 2 hours. Waketime conists of switching the kids from one station to another - usually swing time, bouncy time, tummy time, bumbo seat time. Every so often we throw in bath time or a walk in there to mix things up. The days fly by and before we know it we're doing it all over again! :)
Burp one and feed 3 at the same time

4 hands - 4 babies

The crying game is getting a little better this week. The babies are able to calm themselves down a little more quickly, it seems. Though, as I am writing this Sophia has awakened and is sobbing for help. :) I usually peek in to be sure she's not stuck in an awkward position or has an unwanted hand in her face. If all is well, I let her work it out for a few minutes and she'll put herself back to sleep. Noah is getting a lot better as well. He used to cry and cry when we would put him down for a nap. Surprisingly, now that he is on the four hour schedule and getting more rest between feeds, he seems to be more content to go down and sleep more. The days are so much more pleasant. We still have the proverbial question when it comes time for the 2am feed and they are still sleeping - I think they'll make it through the night; should we let them sleep or wake them up? Inevitably, one of them will wake up and answer the question for us.
Hungry? or Kisses?

We plan on doing a "Christmas drill" this week to see if we can get everthing packed and babies in the car in record time before the Holidays and festivities. As you can tell, we are getting a little more brave by venturing out of the house with the babies, whether it be for walks or to run errands. This is making things a little more fun and satisfies our quest for things to be "normal". The challenge comes with trying not to mess up their schedule - do we go for a walk during their waketime or during their sleeptime?

Me and my babies at the beach

Chris was so excited to "christen" Cohen and Sophia at the beach last weekend. The beach is in his blood, especially since he is BOI (born on the island for those not in the know); and as his pepa says, "He's got sand between his toes".
Finn, Noah, Cohen, Sophia relaxing seaside

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Remembering to Give Thanks Today

I have found myself living these past few weeks just wishing that the days of bottle feeding, sleepless nights and four babies that require us for all of their needs would pass us by and we could skip on to the next chapter and truly start enjoying this new family. I know it sounds awful but it hasn't really been a cake walk, thus far. After having these thoughts day after day, I realized how much I will miss if I continue this way. If I'm always looking toward the future for my happiness, I'll miss the gifts we have right now. So I thought I'd make a list and give thanks for the things we were blessed with today.
-2 hours of uninterrupted sleep - no alarms after the 6 am feed and Chris and I took a rare uninterrupted nap!!
-Chris is home until next year!
-A perfect vacation with the Glass family - what a huge help they have been - THANK YOU!!
-4 babies at home - I am so thankful to have them all together

Here are some fun photos from last week's vacation
Sophia & Daddy
All The Cousins

A Beautiful Walk On The Beach - And We Only Got Stopped Once!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Family Vacation

Galveston Island - Thanksgiving 2007 Vacation

So it's our first vacation as a family of 6 and let me tell you this is a vacation unlike any we've had. When you have 4 newborns it's not so much fun in the sun as it is the same routine with a change of scenery. Nonetheless, we are making the best of it and enjoying being with the rest of the family who came down from Iowa and Minnesota.

The Cousins Enjoying The Beach

On a pre-quad vacation, we would have no clocks, spend lots of time napping in the sunshine and chilling on the beach. Now we live by our watches so the babies stick to their schedule in hopes that one of these days they'll sleep through the night. The beach is a short trip in between naps while someone else stays here to watch the babies and man the monitors. Okay, it sounds like I'm complaining but I'm not - just observing how different our lives are now.

Aunt Emalee & Uncle Jim Sunning
(This is what we have to look forward to once our kids are all over the age of 4)

The Cousins Meet

Jakob & Noah

Makenna & Noah

Hannah & Sophia and Josh & Noah

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Day In The Life Of....

Quadruplets!! So it's been 4 nights with the fab 4 and we have survived! Defeated at times, but nonetheless alive. We have had to make a few adjustments now that all 4 are re-united. For example, we have a bottle of wine every night to de-stress, at least 3 cups of coffee in the AM to re-energize, and the babies are now allowed to cry themselves to sleep (thus the need for the wine in the PM and coffee in the AM). Mari's sister, Emalee, has been in since Sunday and she has been a huge help with getting the babies on a schedule. They are doing much better on this schedule - here's a rundown:

change diaper, feed babies, keep babies awake for 1.5 hours, put babies down for 1.5 hour nap, Rinse and repeat.

Auntie Em - Looks like she has done this before

The Quad Squad has been in full effect, providing 2 volunteers every 3 hours from 6am til 6pm. They are such a help keeping the babies awake and extra arms for feeding. Much love Susan for all of your hard work getting things together!

We are gearing up for Thanksgiving and making plans to head to the beach. Hopefully, I'll get to take the surfboard out a little for the 1st time and introduce the babies to my first love - the beach.
Grandma and Grandpa Lovin' All Four!

Noah had an appointment today with the liver specialist. Noah was on TPN for 2 months and this stuff is super-hard on the liver. So now he basically has a mild case of liver damage and Simpson-like jaundice, which will only resolve with time. He has lost a little weight according to our scale but Dr. Quiros wasn't concerned at this time but does want to monitor Noah for the next week. Thankfully, doc said we could start feeding Noah as much as he could handle but had to be careful to monitor for signs of intolerance (ie too many loose dirty diapers).
Noah finding comfort with Sophia

Finn is adjusting well to this crazy home. We are pretty sure he is the sensitive one in the bunch because he will cry with his bros and sis, feeling their pain. He also loves to cuddle which makes Sophia happy because Cohen could care less about snuggling with her.

Bathtime with Finn

Cohen is still a little linebacker, breaking the scales at over 10 lbs now. For the past week, he has been having crazy meltdowns in the evenings, sometimes lasting from 6pm til 12am. With the new schedule, he may cry for 15min then fall asleep. Also, we decided to take him off reflux meds and is now chowing down his bottle in half the time.
Cohen in the Bumbo

Sophia is our primadonna - who would've guessed? She is adapting very well to the schedule, but demands a lot of attention. Who can blame the gal...after all she has 3 brothers to compete with.

Naptime Melodies

Mari and I were laughing together the other night at just how naive we once were. We were thinking God must've thought we had some great characteristics to give us four babies at once. We know now He knew some very important traits were missing and we needed a swift kick in the pants to change. We're getting there, just feeling some bruises on the backside along the way.