Cabin Fever

There is a cabin fever epidemic in our household. We are quite thankful that Spring is upon us because we cannot wait to get outdoors!

We tried to make it outside throughout the winter, but the quints’ affinity for snow and cold varies on a wide spectrum. Ellie Rose took on Frosty and loves to galavant through the snow; she anchors the scale at the “love for snow” end point. Mr. Theo dislikes all that snow has to offer; thus anchoring the other end of the spectrum. Kali Mae is our mid-point; She enjoys sitting amidst the drifts catching snowflakes and munching on a snowball. Lily and Bella are a bit more free-spirited and can tolerate it for a bit, but then quickly want to go indoors. Needless to say, our snow experiences typically last about 20-25 minutes, or half of the amount of time it takes to prepare.

How we are treating cabin fever and getting our crazies out…


Everyone, however, loves to be outdoors when it’s warm. We trekked to the park in our neighborhood the other day for the first time. It was very cool to watch our 29-weekers climb the play structure with ease, run around the park, swing on the swings, and best of all get dirty! The V5 are not, typically, fond of getting messy. If they have a drop of water- fondly known as a Dibble-dop – on their clothes, they demand a new outfit. But, when we left the park, everyone had dirty hands and mud stains; it was a true milestone! We look forward to many more mud pies and grass stains in the future.

V5 in their Spring Gear

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Lily and Turtle
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Ellie and Her Kitty
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Bella, Nana Bear and Mr. Walrus, fondly known as WusRahl

 

The quints also made their first appearance at Sunday School last week and loved it. They learned a new song, made new friends and didn’t shed a tear. We are very excited to watch them grow in their social skills, as well as, learn about God’s love. They were also very excited to get dressed to go to church!

 

The V5 in their Sunday Best

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Ellie, K-Mae, Lily, Bella and Theo

 

We (Dad, Mom and Nana B) continue to try our best to stay a step ahead of our crew physically and mentally. It is evident that our bunch needs consistent challenges that stimulate them intellectually and outlets to get their crazies out physically. We welcome suggestions for challenging the V5. Right now, we are:

  • Reading like book worms
  • Practicing writing our names, numbers and shapes
  • Singing songs
  • Learning our ABC’s and 123’s
  • Building towers and puzzles

 

Theo reading the “Dot Book” to Lily

We plan to start:

  • Practicing with scissors and making more necklaces to improve fine motor skills,
  • Gardening to foster a love for getting dirty, and
  • Getting out and about to increase opportunities for social interaction.

 

The 1st Snow

SnowBunnies

The first snow of the season is a sudden reminder that the Holidays are just around the corner. This year the Vanderwall Quints are more aware than ever of all the hustle and bustle. “New House,” gobbling turkeys, snow, “Kiss-mas” lights, and “Frosties” abound!


It is so much fun to take a fresh look at all of these events from the eyes of the V5. Their expressions and experiences are priceless and a stark reminder to appreciate the little things that otherwise would be overlooked. These include the winter wind on your cheeks, learning how to walk in big clunky snow boots, having snowflakes land on your eyelashes, and sliding down a slick snow hill. In addition to all the wonderful elements of winter and the holidays, the kiddos have also grown to enjoy:KMae Cheese Burger

  • Coloring
  • Forming animals with Play-doh
  • Cooking and tasting new fruits and vegetables
  • Playing matching games
  • Hide and Go Seek with their animals
  • Writing their names

The biggest challenge of the day is naptime. Since saying good-bye to our cribs and hello to toddler beds, their mid-day nap has been nearly non-existent. Bella is your typical, “Jack in the Box” child and thus almost always needs to be removed from the situation in order to allow the other munchkins time to sleep. Other obstacles that we have been navigating include the typical two-year-old-tantrums. We ride the emotional rollercoaster of being a toddler right along side of them. We hope that the additional space that our new home will bring will help to ease some of the tantrums that result from simply being too close to one another. In the mean time, we are rolling with the punches… hair pulling… biting… and “puddling” on the floor. One new tool in our tool box for combatting these days is exploring the winter wonderland!

Sledding Video:

BellaSnow

Ellie Sled

Lily YOLO

Theos Ready

Lily and Ellie

 

 

Mom’s Everyday: Consider the 3 P’s

Mom’s Everyday- Madison asked me if I had any advice for parents. I encourage the three P’s for all parents:

  • Planning
  • Priorities
  • Perspective

Check out the interview at:

http://up.anv.bz/latest/anvload.html?key=eyJtIjoiZ3JheSIsInAiOiJkZWZhdWx0IiwidiI6IjMyODI3NDYiLCJwbHVnaW5zIjp7ImFuYWx5dGljcyI6eyJwZGIiOjIwMjY5NTU2fX19

Article:

Cassie Vanderwall is a dietitian, personal trainer, diabetes educator, blogger, and most importantly, mother of quintuplets. Her five kiddos just happen to be two months shy of two years.

She offers her advice on how to stay sane with the three P’s: Planning, Priorities and Perspective.

Planning: We all know that kids benefit from schedules and routines, from short term to long term planning. Where are they gonna go to school? When’s the next meal? What’s for dinner? All of those questions are important to answer ahead of time so we can be present with our kids every moment.

Priorities: We often as parents pour into our children and end up running on empty. But Cassie believes we have a lot to learn from airline safety. Put that air mask on first. Keep your emotional and physical tanks full with monthly dates with your partner, a quick workout in the morning and healthy food throughout the day.

Perspective: We all have those days where we throw back our heads and say really, really did that just happen? Feel free to fill in the blank with your latest and greatest moment. And it’s at those times you should remind yourself that you’re blessed with a beautiful family.

Taking On Two

Team Vanderwall remains in the first quarter of the 2nd year of life. The V5 have come out of the gate with some creative tactics, but Mom, Dad and Nana have proved to be resilient early in the game. This tough trio has taken on potty training, spoon skills, outdoor walks and even social gatherings. The quints appear to be a force to be reckoned with, and we don’t deny the mutinies that have occurred in the last month, but we remain hopeful.

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Navigating the age of two takes creativity, patience and endurance. It is such a blessing that Frank, Nana and I have alternating schedules so we can stay “fresh” for the V5. They are so “hungry” for new scenes, new games, new words and new experiences. It is beautiful to watch them soak up life!

Along with all of these “news” have come an abundance of new words! I truly believe that communication is the key to surviving and is what transforms the terrible two’s into the terrific two’s. It is increasingly obvious that 50% of their frustrations come from lack of words to say what they want to say, 25% are from their inability to identify what they are feeling inside (emotions), and the final 25% is unpreventable provoking from their siblings, namely Lily.

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Our battle plan for the age of two includes…

Help them “use their words:” This includes teaching them new words everyday. Some times this happens by accident and other times it is very intentional. We also have to remind them to use the words they know versus collapsing on the floor like a giant puddle (Ellie) or screaming and running circles (Kali Mae), or even jolting around in your chair like your toes are in an electrical socket (Bella). You will note that Theo was note named. He honestly has very few tantrums, which I think is because his vocabulary and capacity to communicate are quite high for his age.

Navigating emotions: Anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, etc. all produce icky sensations inside and helping the V5 to identify these feelings, understand that they are all okay and deal with them in a productive manner is a huge undertaking. We have been trying to call it when we see it, or simply say “Mae’s scared, it’s okay to be scared.” We have noticed the more that we help them to process early on in the scene the quicker it resolves.

Once we have labeled the emotion, we move on to helping them deal with it. A few tips we have received and tried include:

  • Time out to chill out: We have designated certain areas on the couch called “nests.” These are the chill out zones. When someone needs to calm down they are relocated to the nest with a few of their favorite toys.
  • Shake it off: When we see that they are angry or sad, we try to wipe off the nasty feeling and then shake it off. You could even use a towel for a visual.
  • Time out for safety: If we are late to the scene and injuries have incurred, then we do often separate the quints to preserve their safety. They can be vicious and have been known to bite, hit, kick, pinch and nearly draw blood. Therefore, a quick 2-5 minute time out can help to restore peace in an effective manner.

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Staying Fresh: This tactic is two-fold: it requires that Mom, Dad and Nana are taking care of themselves so that they have lots of love and energy to pour out to the munchkins and consistently coming up with new activities to help the V5 explore all that life has to offer and continue to learn, grow and play.

Frank is the best at coming up with new games. Check out his obstacle course, The Quint 500, below.

The kids also love to go to the zoo, play outside, go on “big kid” walks, and read, read, read!

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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: Isabella Marie

Ms. Isabella Marie

Our little Bella jumping bean is turning two! The second born of the V5. She is the pretty, pretty princess of the bunch and certainly believes that she is the “fairest of them all.” A true Daddy’s girl. She has more than just her Dada wrapped around her delicate fingers. All of her siblings are at her beck and call. Whether she needs her blanket (be-be), her snow seal (ar-ar), or anything else out of reach, they are at her service.

Bella has the best rhythm of the bunch and loves to dance, sing and play the egg shakers. When the dinner bell rings, she is usually the last one to the table and the last one to leave. Her slow dining pace, often leaves her victim to the hungry hyenas- aka Lily and Kali- awaiting her leftovers.

She is also our little socialite. She loves a crowd flutters about the room like a true social butterfly. She is our little bossy beauty and we love every ounce of you, Isabella!

Bella’s Second Year…

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

The V5 are 15 Months

The V5 are 15 months old and raking in the milestones!

Halloween Video (Click to view the video)

Time certainly is flying by and their minds are growing just as fast as their bodies. Our home is full of chatter, balls, blocks, cups, and various forms of transportation. The quints love the Chicco Walker, their new stroller and their activity table , which has been re-purposed (thanks to Kali’s ingenuity) as a walker. They also enjoy exploring all of the cause-and-effect relationships in the world, such as dropping toys from high places, bopping themselves and each other on the head and of course biting. I am very glad that the biting phase, which lasted about 2 weeks, appears to be coming to an end. The kiddos looked like they were covered in hickies during the worst of it. A few of the V5 continue to be quite aggressive. The most common reason for aggressive behavior in toddlers is their inability to express: emotions, energy and the fact that they are in pain. Knowing this has helped us to handle their outbursts much easier. The best ways to respond include:

  • Not reacting and staying calm,
  • Redirecting their attention and possibly removing them from the situation, and
  • Being consistent.

Three- Theo, Ellie and Bella- are walking and Lily has taken a few steps.

Bella’s First Steps (Click to view the video)

 

Theo’s First Steps (Click to view the video)

 

Kali, who has the strength, balance and coordination to walk, continues to choose to crawl, but will most likely just stand and take her few steps any day now.

Kali's characteristic head stand
Kali’s characteristic head stand

The two trends that are sweeping across the V5 nation are taking your clothes off and styling your hair with the day’s fare. Bella continues to be the ringleader of the nudist colony, as well as, the monkey that starts to put food in their hair. As those with multiple children know, it is a game of monkey see, monkey do.

All of their vocabularies also continue to grow. They all can say ma-ma, da-da, ba-ba and na-na, but I’m not quite sure they know what these consonants mean, yet. They also all can recognize the words:

  • Hi,
  • Bye,
  • Nose,
  • Ear,
  • Mouth,
  • Belly,
  • Baby,
  • Ball,
  • Diaper,
  • Good Job, and
  • Our favorite- No.

We are also excited to share our Halloween celebration as Pacman and his 4 ghosts: Pinky, Blinky, Inky and Clyde.
Happy Halloween 2014

The adventures that lie ahead include learning:

  • how to climb up and down the stairs,
  • learning each others names,
  • learning hungry, full, and sleepy, and
  • learning how to color.

One Small Step For…

The V-5 are now 1 year and 2 months and just 2 weeks away from their due date. Since their first birthday we have been witness to milestone after milestone, including first steps!

 

Mr. Theo can now:Quints-59

  • Cruise along with a push-along-walker,
  • Stand-up by himself,
  • Stack cups and blocks,
  • Match colors,
  • Place rings on a pole, and
  • Throw a ball.

No real words yet for Theo but he can rattle off a host of consonants. He also can recognize the word ball.

 

Ms. Bella Jumping Bean can now: Quints-4

  • Cruise with a push-along-walker,
  • Pull herself up and stand,
  • Remove her bib and shirt,
  • Throw a ball,
  • Dance like a queen, and
  • Point at things and people, especially those that she thinks should get into trouble.

Bella is great a monkey-see, monkey-do and will mimic most actions. No words yet for Bella, but she is definitely the singer in the group.

 

L.G. can now: Quints-60

  • Pull herself up and stand with assistance,
  • Match colors,
  • Point at things and people,
  • Throw a ball, and
  • Make the sign for milk.

Lily also knows a host of consonants and her favorite is Da, Da, Da, Da.

 

K-Mae can now: Quints-3

  • Pull herself up and walk slowly with a push-along-walker,
  • Collect similar objects (puppets, chewy tubes, clothes),
  • Stack cups, blocks and rings, and
  • Play peek-a-boo.

Kali loves to rattle off consonant sounds and certainly knows the word, “no.” Needless to say, she’s our little trouble-maker. For those that know the Pigeon and Duckling books…she’s our little pigeon.

 

Sweet Ellie Rose can now: Quints-36

  • Stand up along and… walk!
  • Collect similar objects,
  • Point and pull things, and
  • Place objects into a box and remove them

Elliott is the quietest quint, but when she is excited she loves to squawk and repeat consonant sounds.

T.I.K.L.E. at One Year

The stages of infancy fly by, often times I don’t recall specific days, but rather specific moments. It is these moments- these memories- that still give me goosebumps and have left footprints on my heart. Milestone stages at 3 months, 6 months and 12 months give me a reason to reminisce.

How do we spell love? T.I.K.L.E.

T is for Theodore

Theodore Joseph

T is for theo2

I is for Isabella

Isabella Marie

K is for Kali

L is for Lillian

Lillian Grace

L is for Lily

E is for Elliott

E is for Ellie

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Another special thank you to Hayley for the beautiful photos that she took of our children at 3 and 12 months. She is a very talented photographer. Her talent and patience are divine!  Be sure to check back at her homepage for more Photos by Hayley.

First Year Stats

The numbers are in! The V-5 tolerated their one-year check-up like champs.

 

fam photo

 

Here’s how they weighed in…

Theodore Joseph- “Theo”

  • Birth Length: 14.5 in
  • Current Length: 28.8 in
  • Birth Weight: 2.87 lbs
  • Current Weight: 23.2 lbs

Isabella Maria- “Bella Bean”

  • Birth Length: 15.7 in
  • Current Length: 27.6 in
  • Birth Weight: 2.49 lbs
  • Current Weight: 17.5 lbs

Lillian Grace- “Lily Bug”

  • Birth Length: 14.6 in
  • Current Length: 27.9 in
  • Birth Weight: 2.69 lbs
  • Current Weight: 17.8 lbs

Kali Mae- “K-Mae”

  • Birth Length: 13 in
  • Current Length: 28 in
  • Birth Weight: 2.29 lbs
  • Current Weight: 20lbs

Elliott Rose- “Ellie Bellie”

  • Birth Length: 14.9 in
  • Current Length: 27.6 in
  • Birth Weight: 2.41 lbs
  • Current Weight: 18 lbs

 

The kiddos also were featured on Madison’s local NBC station (WMTV-15). Check out the story and video at:

http://www.nbc15.com/home/headlines/Vanderwall-quintuplets-turn-the-big-1-270422081.html