My Daughter Gave Birth to Quadruplets!

Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Psalms 112:1-2







Monday, January 31, 2011

Five Months Old/ Chicken for Dinner



The quads are five months old chronologically and three months gestationally. They seem so big to us, but according to the doctors they are really small compared to their singleton counterparts.



Landon is 13 pounds, Jackson is 11 pounds, Isabella is 13 pounds, and Samantha is 10 pounds.



Samantha and her red nose after her bath.



Safe in the arms of one of our favorite policemen.



Jackson taking it easy. For once. We were looking at a preemie outfit that was too big for Jackson when he came home. He has finally outgrown it. He becoming quite an entertainer. He has charisma like Papaw.



Izzy B trying to escape her seat. She's flying!




Izzy B posing for this picture.



Izzy B planning her escape. Don't let the innocent face fool you. We can't take our eyes off her for one minute.



Samantha wearing her oxygen at night only.




Mamaw Betty and Jackson. See how big he is getting?






Isabella sleeping in her swing. So glad she likes it and is still able to use it.



Jackson entertaining me





Grandma Cathy (Tony's mom) with Callie and Landon. Pretty lady!



Landon looks happy.







Our pediatric group is truly "ours." Not only do they take care of Callie and the quads, but they also took care of my kids and---believe it or not--ME! Yes, it was a VERY long time ago. Yes, my doctor is still practicing. They are the best doctors around. So glad we have them.



We got exciting news from the neonatologist. Samantha is off her oxygen around the clock now. It took her about a week to adjust before she started eating well and gaining weight again. Samantha graduated out of the tiny NICU bottles into regular small baby bottles! Her skin has gotten pinker. I took Samantha's tapes off her face for good, I hope. Even though she is off oxygen, she is still on the oximeter. I do a double-take every time I look at her because she looks so different now that she is wireless. When I remember the dark days when we almost lost her, I can hardly believe that I am writing of her excellent progress.


I Peter 2:22-23. I can't have peace in my life until I let go of the difficult days. Part of letting go means that I have to stop trying to figure it all out. I don't want to be the kind of believer who only praises God when I get what I want. It takes true faith to not get what I hope and pray for but still praise God. He has been so good to us.




Somewhere in the midst of it all and with a little help from Devon, Samantha found her laugh!



Sarah and Tom got into a slap-happy food fight over a Diet Coke. Sarah ended up with cereal all over herself. Nobody comes between Tom and his Diet Coke. He who has the most sleep wins.



Cassie and Callie. Best friends/cousins




Tom and I took my VW to get it repaired after Eric's accident. They gave us a rental while they worked. After $3000 worth of deer damage, I have my Beetle back. I love Geico! I learned that it stands for Government Employee Insurance Company. Interesting acrostic.



Tom working hard while holding a sleeping Isabella.



Tom and I watched the kids while Sarah and Tony went out to Outback Steakhouse to use a gift card. Landon, Jackson and Isabella fussed the whole time. Callie helped us entertain them.




Landon and Isabella watching Mommy.



We bathed all the quads and cut their nails. Landon smiled his crooked smile throughout his bath. He likes being pampered.



We decided to take the quads out of their sleeper zip blankets for the first time since we brought them home. Now that they are bigger, they are getting too warm. They kick their feet and try to run.



Sarah is no longer able to provide breast milk for the babies. She is disappointed since the antibodies are so essential to prevent illness. We so thankful that she made it five months with quadruplets and a three year old. That has to be some kind of record!



Daddy and his girls.





Isabella



Sarah, Devon, my sisters and I started Zumba. We are enjoying it very much. After the sedentary summer and fall, we need to move around. Tom and Tony watched the kids. When Tony had to leave for work, Tom and Callie changed a very poopy diaper! Will miracles never cease?



Tom, Callie and I met Eric's girlfriend to give her a care package for Eric. Tom bought candy at Cracker Barrel, including the giant jaw breakers Eric loved when he was little. I didn't have the heart to tell Tom that Eric is all grown up. I hope he still likes jaw breakers, or at least enjoys the memories.



My Jumpers--Tom playing basketball in high school.


Watching Eric's Game--Devon gripping the rails while Eric shoots a three pointer. He made it.

Devon giving Eric a half-time pep talk.


Time Out--Love those Eagle days.




The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.







Eric in the blue uniform




Tom and Eric playing ping pong in Eric's dorm. Just to keep the peace, I am not going to tell you who won. :)



Tom's college ID picture.



My girls/boys. Don't ask.



Two of Eric's biggest fans! Sadly, Tom's driving on the curvy roads spilled their cokes onto the posters which erased all of their hard work.




Tom and Joshua (nephew). Love this picture.




Great picture of Eric and Papaw Bob (Tom's dad)


This warm weather is so nice, but we had so much fun when we were all snowed in. For starters, Tom made me breakfast in bed! It was delicious. I have to say that he makes better scrambled eggs than I do. They are always cooked to perfection--never too dry with just the right amount of cheese.



This is the awesome verse on the back of my dad's headstone. He is buried just down the road from me; somehow, that is a comfort.



Callie and Reaper



Callie wearing Devon's hat




Snow Angel

Devon and I took Callie on a long walk over the train tracks to the graveyard and visited my dad's grave. Our noses were frozen when we returned. Our snow day tradition always includes hot chocolate and homemade chicken noodles. This time Callie helped me make the noodles.




Callie making homemade chicken noodles after playing in the snow.

I can't make noodles without remembering all of the times that I helped my grandmother in her kitchen. The familiar motions of working the dough with flour-covered hands takes me right back to Mamaw's steam-filled kitchen. We would roll out the dough on her enamel table by the window, which was so foggy from the bubbling broth that I could draw pictures on it. Those were such special times, because she would share stories of her answered prayers while we cooked.

My grandma had a great faith. She prayed about everything, big and small. We talked about those prayers and believed God would hear and answer them. She prayed like she breathed. When my grandma decided to serve Christ, she didn't mess around. She had one main goal. She wanted to get as close to God as a person can possibly get in this life.

When times were hard and money was scarce, Mamaw had to be creative to feed her family. She didn't want to complain, but there are only so many ways to prepare beans and cornbread. One day, she was washing the breakfast dishes and talking to God. She said, "Lord, I sure would love some fried chicken for dinner." She could almost taste the meat while she rinsed and dried the dishes. But she didn't have any chickens in the hen house and no one in the area did either. She set out a jar of dinner beans on the table.

Her lazy tom cat interrupted Mamaw's chores with his loud meowing. "What can that old cat possibly want?" she murmured as she dried her hands on her apron and headed for the back door. He had already been fed. He never earned his keep by catching the moles that were burrowing in the back yard. The overweight cat only moved when the sun did.

Mamaw opened the door. There sat Old Tom looking quite pleased with himself. He had left his sunbeam and gone hunting after all. He proudly placed his catch at Mamaw's feet. It was a large hen, suitable for frying.

Mamaw had fried chicken for dinner. She said it was the best chicken she had ever tasted, before or since.


My grandma taught me that God's grace makes it easy to live for Him. He forgives our mistakes and paid for our sin. He gives us the desire and power to do follow His plan, which is exactly what we would want if we could see the future. Her life impacted mine for eternity.

She prayed two special prayers for me from the time of my birth. First, she prayed that I would have such wonderful experiences with God that I would never doubt that He exists and loves me.

Second, she prayed that I would someday write a book. I think this blog should count for that. :)



Thanks for praying!





Thursday, January 13, 2011

Part 2 of the Quad Documentary/Looking Forward to the Promotion



Part 2 of the Quad Documentary "A Blessing Times Four" aired this week on TBN and other stations. It was a much happier event than the last one. We have so much to be thankful for and pray that we are an encouragement.





Samantha got a wonderful Christmas present from the neonatologist. She gets to come off her oxygen during the day! The babies have grown. Landon is 12. Izzy B is 12. Jackson is 11. Samantha is 10.



One of our favorite nurses is named Karen. She was a comfort when Sarah was hospitalized. She stopped me in the hall to see if I was lost. When I told her where I was headed, she spent a long time calming my fears about the NICU and invited me for a tour. Now she takes care of Samantha during her visits. God bless her!



Isabella and Jackson having some tummy time.



Callie loved all her Christmas presents, and we didn't lose any of the babies in the wrapping paper.



Isabella and her "boo-boo" are rarely separated. If they are, she steals Jackson's.



Look at Landon's eyes. Can you tell they're related? Everyone says Landon looks like Eric.



Homework or not--all ye who enter here must hold a baby. Or two. or three.



Uncle Doug has his hands full.







Samantha gets her bath, but is not too happy about it until she is all clean. Then she's ready to play!



Sarah doesn't get much sleep. She was having a hard time getting Isabella's pacifier in her mouth. It just wouldn't go in! She turned on the light and realized it was Jackson's hand that she was trying to put in Isabella's mouth. That reminds me of the time she was changing Landon and panicked because his "boy parts" were missing. She looked closely and discovered that she was actually changing Isabella. Ah, the joys of multiples.



They are never too big to hold. However, they may be too tired.



Samantha is the only one of the quads who still requires regular visits to the neonatologist. The other three don't have to go back until they are gestationally 6 months, which will be chronologically 8 months since they were born early.



Tom's basketball teams are playing hard and winning games. He barely has time to change diapers anymore!






Tony's family came in town and they all went to the Aquarium. Callie kept looking for Nemo.



Callie, the dogs and daddy having fun in the snow.



Tony has some help while he tries to get some Cincinnati Holiday Lighting work finished.







Remember the sonogram that showed Samantha sucking her thumb? She still does. We need to start researching easy ways to stop thumb sucking, especially since one of my former college students had not yet broken her habit.








Eric played well again. He led the team in scoring, steals and tied for blocks and second for total rebounds. Led the team in offensive rebounds. U of Alabama. Wow! Eric can put up points fast and turn a game around.During his last 33 minutes of play he's scored 34 points.Fun to watch. When I told Eric he played great, he gave God the credit, which made me cry.



Tom, Callie and I went with Eric to eat before he went back to school. Callie was upset that Eric wasn't in the car with us. She kept saying, "Eric's coming home!" I called him so she could talk to him. She said, "Hi Eric. I miss you." Afterward, we were sitting at a stoplight. I was feeling sad that he was leaving once again. Callie was watching me in the mirror from her car seat. She said, "Mamaw, is Eric your boy?"

"Yes," I replied.

"Don't worry. He's coming back. Okay?"



Eric made the Dean's List! Hooray! Will miracles ever cease?



I went to my doctor. She took me off one of my blood pressure medicines. Unbelievable! My stress level has gone way down since the quads came. My blood pressure was 113 over 68. Must be that prayer cover.



Devon hit black ice the other night, spun out, lost control of her Mustang, and hit a tree. The air bag, tree, and seat belt kept her from flipping, thank the Lord. She is very sore. Her left side hurts. So does her head and neck. She needs a new car. No Mustang this time.

When I saw Devon's car, I realized that God had really reached down and saved my little girl. I had been praying for her when it happened, which got me thinking. Christ is not only mighty to save us when we turn away from sin, but He is also able to make us change. He is able to give us new hearts and keep us pure until he carries us to Heaven. He is able to build faith in us. He is mighty to give us a new heart and make us who once hated living right to love doing so. The saved life is one miracle after the next from the mighty hand of God. He doesn't create a believer and then leave him to take care of himself. He strengthens us until we break free from every rope of sin and fly to Heaven. When we pray, we need to remember that Christ is mighty to save. If you don't believe me, take a look at that Mustang.



Not to be outdone, Eric had a wreck in my electric blue turbo diesel VW Beetle two days later on his way back to school. Two wrecks--two kids--two days means my low blood pressure is a real blessing. Anyway, he hit a deer which split in half, went 15 feet in the air, and landed back on my car. Eric is okay, thank the Lord. He was very worried about telling me, so he made Tom do it. If he had been in his car, the deer probably would have gone through the windshield It is a miracle that Eric is okay. My car is a different story. I love my car, but I love Eric more. It is a comfort to remember that whatever touches my life must pass through the hands of God first. I shouldn't complain when difficulties come my way, as if God is singling me out for trouble. Everything is used for good in my life. Maybe the aerodynamics of my car saved Eric's life. Maybe God will accomplish something through this accident that answers my prayers. Maybe I was holding on to my car too tightly, putting it above relationships. I am precious in God's sight, even when my plans (and my bug) end in disappointment.



Eric called and invited us to meet him in Louisville for the day. We met at the Louisville Caverns, which was closed and creepy. Instead, we went to dinner at a steakhouse on the river and saw Yogi Bear in 3D. So much fun!



Devon stayed home because she was going flying. Literally. That child is going to be the death of me.

video



Notice the difference between Landon and Jackson.

video

Here is Jackson's happy face.




Tom's dad is battling cancer and is recovering from surgery. While he was in the hospital, the nurses were happy to have him as a patient. Everywhere he goes, people love him.

I have learned a lot from my father-in-law over my years of marriage to his son. When Sarah was first born, I stayed with my in laws for a few days while I recovered from the C-section. During that time, Bob held Sarah every chance he got. Although I wasn't surprised that he held Sarah so much, I was curious about the way he looked at her. He would cradle her in his arms and hold her out in front. Then he would study her. He stared at her eyes, her nose, her mouth. He would examine her fingers and her toes. It took me awhile to figure out why. Then one day he told me. "Look how tiny and perfect she is! It is amazing that God can make this little person with everything she needs." He was in awe of God's creation. I see him studying the quads with that same awe times four. Bob's wonder at new life reminds me do the same, to drink in the miracle of God's creation all around me every chance I get.

I've learned about friendship. Bob doesn't have casual friends the way most people do. He loves others whether they are deserving or not. He treats everyone as if he or she were his only friend. He appreciates each one of them for who they are. He listens and cares and helps and prays. One day, he offered Tom a glimpse into his thinking regarding others. He said, "When I look at someone, I picure him wearing a sign that says, 'Make me feel important. All people want to feel special, to know that someone cares.'" Bob has shown me a picture of God's unconditional love.

I've learned about perserverance. When Bob was little, he contracted polio. He was deathly sick, but he survived. He gave up months of his childhood to recooperate; he wasn't well enough to compete in the sports he loved. Instead of becoming sullen and bitter, he picked up music. He learned to sing and to play several different instruments. God used those talents to give Bob a ministry to serve many as a music director for years.

I've learned about faith. Cancer usually only shows up as one kind in a victim's lifetime. He is on his third unrelated kind. He doesn't complain. He carries on. Bob keeps loving and trusting God.




Bob likes to ride horses, so Devon and Eric bought their papaw a print of a man on a horse in a blizzard. He is carrying a stray calf and a lantern, trying to find his way. Stella took it to the hospital and propped it in the window. He was looking at it in the dim light when he saw Jesus carrying the man. There is a verse at the bottom of the print that says, "I will carry you and rescue you." (Isaiah 46:4) Stella and I can't see Jesus in the picture. Maybe you can. Either way, I believe that God is encouraging Bob in miraculous ways. I felt the Lord's presence in the hospital room while he slept, as if Jesus were standing watch while Bob regained his strength.

We don't know what the future holds, but we are praying for God to heal Tom's dad and give him many more years of ministry/life. For him, they are one in the same. Although our family members are fighting for life at both ends of the journey, the facts are the same. The Bible says that all of our days were numbered by God before we drew our first breath. He decides when we live. He decides when we die. Whether we are newborn or seventy, we are indestructable until our ministry is finished. When it is finished, we look forward to the promotion.

All of us who know and love him best will agree that we are better because of his presence in our lives. For more people than he will ever know, Bob is an example of courage and life-changing faith. I am one of those fortunate people.

Thanks for praying.






Every life has a choice
To rise up to fill the void
Every heart has a mission
And we are called to be human

Chorus:
We gotta do better than this cuz we only got
One chance to make a difference
We gotta do better than this cuz we only got
One life that we've been given
A little love, a little kindness
A little light in this time of darkness
It'll be what makes us different
It'll be what makes us human
I'm human, you're human, we are human

We are marked with His image
And we are scarred with indifference
Maybe now we should listen
Hear the cry of God's children

Chorus:
We gotta do better than this cuz we only got
One chance to make a difference
We gotta do better than this cuz we only got
One life that we've been given
A little love, a little kindess
A little light in this time of darkness
It'll be what makes the difference
It'll be what makes us human
I'm human, you're human, we are
We are human
I'm human, you're human, we are
We are human

Gotta do better than this cuz I only got
One chance to make a difference
Gotta do better than this cuz I'm only
Just one

I'm human, you're human, we are
We are human

It'll be what makes the difference
It'll be what makes us human