Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in review

This year has been filled with lots of firsts and many lasts as well as the babies grew into toddlers but it is a year that was filled with happiness, laughter and new experiences. I am sure 2011 will be an amazing year!

January 2010- Friends and family gathered to celebrate the babies baptism. We took them on their first road trip to Boston to see some of their old NICU nurses and upon coming home they made the move into their big boy/girl cribs.

February 2010- Aubrey got her ears pierced! We spent our first weekend at camp with the Styles family for the Annual Fishing Derby.

March 2010- Happy 1/2 birthday...We celebrated with rice cereal! Cameron got to be the first one to visit the ER with bronciolitis. Brady got the croup, Matthew got fitted for his helmet and Aubrey got cleared of ROP.

April 2010- We celebrated the babies first Easter, all four of them learned to roll to get where theyt wanted to go and they could all sit unassisted. We introduced sippy cups and vegetables.

May 2010- Cameron was a trooper getting through his second surgery in his short life. I finally celebrated Mother's Day as a mommy! Matthew said bye bye to his helmet and hello to his first tooth. We took the babies to their first parade and swimming for the first time.

June 2010- Ben celebrated his first Father's Day. Ben and I spent our first night baby-free. The boys moved into convertable car seats from their infant carriers and we all took a trip to the carnival.

July 2010- We went to my family reunion, a trip to the zoo and I took a fall down the stairs that led to a broken wrist. All four of them now had teeth, clapping and crawling were new tricks.

August 2010- We said bye bye to bottles, went on vacation to Old Orchard Beach and took a trip to Story Land and Santa's Village. Peek a boo was the game of the month, especially using doors to play it.

September 2010- FIRST BIRTHDAY! Many friends and family came to celebrate and they got far too spoiled! We spent lots of time at the Lancaster Fair and the babies loved it. Words were coming all the time and they loved to babble.

October 2010- Not our first Halloween but the first time celebrating. They were the cutest fruit basket around. We went to Connecticut for a baby shower and stopped in the NICU to show how big they had grown. As an early Christmas present we got the Choo Choo wagon.

November 2010- Bye Bye pacis! They had been gone for months during the day but we made the plunge and got rid of them for good. We took a trip to Chuck E Cheese and celebrated Thanksgiving.

December 2010- The quaddlers had their first trip to the dentist, explored the Christmas tree and loved ripping into gifts. Christmas was so fun with the four of them!

We wish everyone a safe and happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Vocabulary explosion

The quaddlers are chatting up a storm lately, granted a lot of time it is in their own special language but I love hearing all the new words they are coming out with. They are discovering that words actually stand for things and have been calling people and items by the names they have designated for them. It is just amazing to hear their little voices come out with cute little words.

Brady has been cracking us up with his ability to "read" books to everyone. He will babble along, look up, turn the page and start "reading" all over again. It is quite comical.

They are all starting to sing along with music and Matthew is quite the singer lately especially when he sings "bitsy spy-er". I have got to get this on video but every time I take the camera out they get all shy and stop being cute.

Aubrey is a little mother hen telling her brothers to "stop", "get down", "no", "sit" and many other things that I cannot understand! Of course they listen to her as well as they listen to me so she gets a little annoyed with them.

Cameron is still the quiet one for the most part and doesn't have much to say but when he does talk he usually makes himself laugh. He must be the comedian of the group!

It seems like every day they say new words and do something new that makes me so proud yet so sad at the same time. They are growing too fast!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday but getting to share it with four very special little people makes it even better! All four of them were very well behaved and enjoyed seeing everyone, opening presents and playing with their new toys. They were definitely tired out and ready for bed when 7pm came and I think Ben and I were just as tired as they were.

Our day began at 6:30 when the quaddlers woke up and we brought them down stairs to see presents under the lit tree. Cameron is definitely the present lover of the bunch, Auntie Tonya must have had a little talk with him and shared her love for presents! We didn't go crazy getting them gifts because they have SO much already and really do not need for much more so we kept it simple getting them each an outfit and a toy. Santa so generously brought them each a magnadoodle and they have been having a ton of fun coloring on them already.

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We had Memere, Bumpa, Uncle Kyle and Evan and Uncle Brandon and Zachary over to celebrate the morning with us. We had some yummy breakfast and got to open a few more gifts from everyone. Uncle Kyle paid us back for the years of getting Evan noisy toys by getting the boys each an instrument so they could start their own band.

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We went and had lunch at Grammie and Grandpa Amadon's after and got to visit some more and get a few more gifts. We were almost late getting to lunch because they babies took a nap and all four had to be woken up to get there in time.

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I didn't think Christmas could be better than spending the day with Ben and my favorite four but it got better when we to be able to spend some of our Christmas with one of my bestest friends, Marissa and her son Peyton. I wish they lived her so we could spend time with them all the time!

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We had fourth and final Christmas of the day with Grammie and Grandpa Brann, Auntie Allison, Uncle Dan, Uncle Tom and Auntie Kate. I got dinner all ready, we ate, they got some more gifts to open then 7 o'clock hit and they were more than ready to hit the sack!

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Now if only Santa left a little Elf behind to do the clean up, assembly of toys, washing and putting away of all the new clothes and toys I would be a happy camper. Our house looks like a bomb went off!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas Eve!

It is so exciting to be able to start new family traditions now that we have a family of our own. This year is the babies second Christmas but last year they were so little it wasn't anywhere near as exciting as it is this year. We decided that we would let them open one gift on Christmas Eve each year and it would be new jammies to sleep in and that way they would have on cute Christmas jammies for pictures in the morning. When Ben agreed to this new tradition he had no idea that I would find matching jammies in adult sizes! I was so excited to see his reaction to them, I think he liked them ALMOST as much as the babies did...LOL!

The babies were super excited to open a gift...what will it be???
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Brady can hardly stand the excitement!
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Cameron switched presents with Aubrey, he must have known hers would be PINK!
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Cameron and Aubrey were so excited to see their jammies that they were hugging them...AWE!
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Ben was thinking..."please tell me these aren't matching jammies"
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...YES! They are!
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Merry Christmas from Our Home to Yours!
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Picture Post!

Feeding ourselves cereal with milk for the first time!

Aubrey loving her spoon!
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Cameron is thinking...This better not get me dirty!
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Matthew thinks he can feed himself faster with his hands!
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Brady does too!
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They love getting into stuff!

Matthew getting in the tree and thinking he is pretty funny...
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while Aubrey gets into the decorations.
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Cameron is off and running!
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Brady's new favorite pastime, climbing.
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Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkeys get in trouble too!
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MMM...Chocolate Cream Pie!
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Our big boys and little miss too

The boys are all walking now! Cameron and Matthew are walking when they feel like it and Brady is walking all over the place. He does like to tease the other boys that he can walk better because when Ben is at one end of the livingroom and I am at the other passing Matthew and Cameron back and forth he will do circles in their path trying to knock them over. Brady has even discovered he is able to drink his cup and walk at the same time so that makes him a happy boy!

Aubrey isn't walking yet but she has invented a new way to practice. She will lean back on my hands and shuffle her feet. Crazy girl! She probably figures if all the boys can walk they will find new places to be and leave her alone!

New places for sure! The boys have made the little area between the couch and the wall into their own private meeting place. The love to do stuff like unplug the phone, hit the page button a million times in a row and delete everything off my answering machine. I have retaped my outgoing message six times this week!

All the quaddlers are finding climbing is so much fun! I can't tell you how many times they have been on top of the chairs, table, desk, boxes, their picnic table, etc. Now that Brady has learned that he can move the kitchen chairs around I came out of the bathroom the other day to find him on the top of the counter getting into the cabinets. Nothing is safe in this house now!

Friday, December 17, 2010

15 months!

Where has the time gone? It is so hard to believe 15 months has passed since my heart grew fuller than I ever imagined! As our babies are now toddlers I sometimes get sad looking back at pictures of them as newborns. As much as I miss those days, I love each day with them that is filled with fun, laughter and new challenges. They sure keep us on our toes and wear us out and some days you just have to laugh at everything or else you will be crying!

Matthew, I love the way you always kiss us, your brothers and sister and all babies. You are definitely my most vocal and I love the way when anyone asks "whassat?" you always answer in an annoyed tone "a wall!" You love to tease everyone and push your luck but your cute smile and the little "awe" you do as you lean in for a kiss always makes it hard to stay mad at you. Your red hair sets you apart from the others and your fun personality makes everyone laugh. I love you Matty Boo!

Brady, I love the way you love to cuddle whenever you wake up. I love the way you are so proud of yourself for walking and climbing onto things you shouldn't. Sometimes you give me a heart attack with your adventuresome spirit but I am so glad you aren't afraid to try new things. You have an independant streak that sets you apart from the rest and the way you say "momma" ALL.THE.TIME. makes everyone around you laugh. I love you Brady Monster!

Aubrey, I love your little giggle and the way you love to play shy. I love the way you are so girlie and love to wear pretty things and have cute shoes on. You never let your brothers get the best of you and if they try you always cry to daddy. I love the way you like to dance every time you hear music playing and laugh at the way you look like you are conducting a band while doing it. Your sweet little smile makes everyone think you are so innocent. I love you Aubrey Peaches!

Cameron, I love your laugh and your handsome smile. You make me laugh when you make me chase you as you shake your head no and laugh. I love how you always try to do every thing anyone else can do. You might not be the first to do it all but you are usually the first to master it. Your determination makes me proud and your shyness fools everyone into believing you are so quiet but you are just as crazy as the rest of them. I love you Cam Cam Man!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our first walker!

Brady started walking around about a week ago whenever he felt like it but he has gotten better and better each day. Now he just gets up and walks for something to do. I can't wait for the other three to join him! Cameron is taking 4-5 steps at a time so I don't think it will be long!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Four Generations

For my Grandmother's 80th birthday in October we bought her a frame with a saying on it about four generations. We hadn't taken a picture to put in the frame yet so I thought today would be a great day to do it since we were all together for my nephew's 1st birthday party. It is so hard to get a good picture when there are four one year olds you are trying to get to sit and look at the camera so this was the best we got.

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The kids had a great time playing at Zachary's birthday party and did pretty well considering that they missed their normal nap time. I think they had more fun playing in his room than they did seeing him open gifts. I was really hoping that they would be tearing up the place for Christmas but now I am not so sure. Happy 1st birthday Zachary!

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Tonight we went to the Make a Wish dance recital. All the dances were made up by the children and all the proceeds went to the Make a Wish foundation. It was a terrific time for a fantastic cause. The babies loved the music and were dancing along! They were much better behaved than at the Christmas Concert last week! The dances were fun and original...Great dancing Colin, Parker, Lauryn, Khaley, Lukas, Christian and Gavin!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Signing in toddlers

I have been thinking about starting sign language as a form of communication with the babies and possibly incorporating it into my day care as well. Do any of you sign with your children? What do think of it? Was it helpful? In what ways?

Emily Patterson of Primrose Schools has asked me to share an informational article she co-wrote with my readers. I hope you all find it educational!

Sign Language and Early Childhood Education

The ability to communicate articulately in a variety of ways with the widest possible audience, is a skill that can take you far in our society today. Whether you learn a second language for job opportunity or just to become more diverse, it is a great unique ability.

This includes bilingual ability as well as the ability to communicate in non-verbal ways for the benefit of the disabled – primarily the deaf.

Signing Before They Can Speak

Research has shown that the early years of ages 2 to 5 is the best time to educate children in different modes of communication and language. This goes beyond the spoken word (though it is an optimal time for children to learn a second language); many young children have an aptitude for signing as well. This can be taught at home or some child care programs incorporate it into their curriculum.

While teaching a 2 year old a second language may seem a tad early or odd, it's actually been shown that sign language is innate. Many indigenous peoples around the world, including American Indian nations, have used sign language for centuries to facilitate communication with other tribes with whom they do not share a language. Some paleontologists and anthropologists theorize that Neanderthals – who apparently lacked the vocal mechanism to produce many spoken words – depended a great deal upon hand gestures to communicate.

Boulder Daily Camera published an article in 2003 presenting strong evidence that babies as young as six months old communicate with their hands:

"...by 6 to 7 months, babies can remember a sign. At eight months, children
can begin to imitate gestures and sign single words. By 24 months, children
can sign compound words and full sentences. They say sign language reduces
frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves
before they know how to talk." (Glarion, 2003)

The Best Time To Start

The sooner the better for children to start. From the ages 2 to 5, the child's brain is most flexible, making it easier for them to learn not only one language, but two or three even. They are able to mimic the signs when learning sign language, and in most cases even create their own in the beginning (which is ok!)

Not only does early childhood education in signing give pre-verbal youngsters a way to communicate, it can also strengthen the parent child-bond. Signing minimizes frustration levels and helps parents to communicate with their children before they can even walk!

It Can Last A Lifetime

The benefits are endless. Incorporating sign language into a child's early education not only optimizes learning potential for children but it helps them in the future as well.

Studies show that young children who are taught sign language at an early age actually develop better verbal skills as they get older. They have higher levels of skill in vocabulary, spelling and music as well.

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Texas child care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose child care schools. Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trip to the Eye Clinic

Aubrey had her six month visit to the Eye Clinic at CHAD today and her focus and following were great. The only concern is that she tends to tilt her head down and look upward rather than just following an object with her eyes when it is moved downwards. She still is showing signs of farsidedness so they plan to keep an eye on that as well. I was told that it doesn't mean that she will need glasses in the future but it is something that needs to be checked every so often.

It was also recommended that the boys have eye exams at Aubrey's next check as well. They were never tested for ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) because their birthweight was over 3 lbs and they were born after the 31 week mark so the doctors didn't feel they were at risk. Aubrey was born at 3 lbs 1 oz so they thought she should get checked and she was diagnosed with Stage I and had follow up exams regularly and it cleared up on its own. The doctor doubts that they have ROP but she did feel that a quick check was in order.

Looks like I will be taking LOTS of help to that appointment as Aubrey was miserable when I had to have her eyes dialated at her last appointment and they plan on doing the same procedure on all four of them at that visit. YIKES!

We attempted to take the babies to the Christmas Concert that the elementary school this evening. I say attempt because it was a total failure! The babies were not behaving well and disrupting everyone around us so we decided to leave half way through. I think the day in the car and not having a chance to burn off any energy didn't set them up very good for sitting and watching. Evan was sad that he didn't get to see us after his performance but at least we got to see him up there singing during his first ever Christmas Concert. Hopefully Saturday night will be better when we attempt to go to the Make a Wish Dance Recital!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

First trip to the Dentist

Auntie Kate, my mom and I took the babies to Concord Pediatric Dentistry for their very first dental exam yesterday and they were sooooo good. Brady showed off a little by showing them how he brushed his teeth and they were very happy with the fact that all four of them were bottle free by a year, pacifier free during the day at 10 months and totally free of the paci by 14 months.

All four of them had rave reviews on their diet and brushing habits. The only time that the babies cried was when the dentist examined their mouth and brushed the flouride on. They were happy as could be sitting in the chair and exploring the office.

After the dentist we made a stop at Toys R Us and Aubrey found a lot of toys that she wanted to have. She pointed at everything and smiled when we showed her different things. The boys could have cared less, they hung out in the carts and just talked to each other.

Grammie treated us all to lunch at the Olive Garden and the babies were the main attraction as always. The waitstaff had so many questions I considered using some of the lines from the facebook video I posted last week! One of these days it will happen! :)

Aubrey has her follow up eye exam this week in Dartmouth so we will be on the road again! All six of us are going to go and pay a visit to the staff in Oncology that treated Ben so well during his time down there. They are looking forward to seeing the babies!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mesmerized by the Christmas Tree

The babies were mesmerized by the lights on the tree this morning! They sat and looked at it for a long time and I was a little worried that we would end up needing to put the corral around it to keep the little monsters out of it but after many times of saying "no touching" they finally got the hint and are leaving it alone for the most part. Matthew loves the little ball ornament that is down at his level but it is just plastic so I think I will leave it there.

I just loved seeing their little faces all lit up and enjoying something new to look at. I need to play around with my camera and try to get it so I can get a picture of the lights and the babies. These pictures were taken in the dark with the lights on and you would never know it. Seeing Christmas through a toddler's eyes is something I am looking very forward to this year!

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fun at the Gingerbread Bazaar

We took the quaddlers to the Gingerbread Bazaar at the Stark school today to get a chance to see Santa. We meet Santa briefly last weekend at Walmart but we weren't able to get pictures of the babies seperately with Santa so we figured there was nothing better to do on a wintery day. Matthew would not even think about sitting on Santa's lap! Cameron and Brady liked him and sat for a couple pictures and Aubrey sat with him but not very happily. We were able to all sit on the ground and take a group picture so that was nice.

After signing up for some drawings and buying some cookies for the babies to have as a snack we went on a hayride. They all enjoyed it even Aubrey, she only whined once when the cold wind blew really hard. It was a fun way to pass the time.

On the ride home the babies fell asleep so we drove to the tree lot and picked out a tree while they stayed in the warm van. I cannot wait to see the surprised looks on their little faces in the morning when they come down stairs to a decorated Christmas tree!

Our Family with Santa
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Mommy and Aubrey on the hayride
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Daddy and Brady
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Cameron
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Matthew
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Our little elves!
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