Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Schedule

I wanted to update that Allison and Levi dropped their 10:30pm bottle with no trouble at all!  Oh, it is so nice putting them to bed at 7:30 and not doing anything (besides refilling Leah's feed bag and the occasional random wake up) until 6am.  Just for my own memory I wanted to post on the current schedule of how my days go around here...

6am- wake up, fill Leah's bag, give Levi medicine, put bottles in crock pot, make oatmeal
6:30am- feed babies oatmeal followed by bottles
7am-8:30am- clean up breakfast, feed and let out dog, get babies dressed, other random morning chores, feed myself because I'm starving by 8am, then we always end with a Dance Party!
8:30am- put 5 down for morning nap
8:45am- do some therapy stuff with Leah
9am- Leah usually naps or has tummy time to music, I may take a 10-15 min power nap, I make myself somewhat presentable for the day
9:30am- give Leah medicine and do her first round of solid and tube feedings
10:30am- feed babies mid-morning bottle (they wake up anytime between 9:30-10:30am)
11-12- play time
12pm- lunch time spoon feeding
12:30pm- put 5 down for afternoon nap
12:45pm- do Leah's 2nd spoon and tube feeding
1ish- I eat lunch :)
1:30-2:15pm- my free time! - typically consists of making phone calls and/or household chores
2:30pm- feed babies again (they wake up anywhere between 1:30-2:30)
3-4pm play time
4-4:30pm- prep Leah's last tube feeding of the day and get everything ready for the walk
4:45-6pm- strolling around the neighborhood
6-7pm- dinner spoon feed, bath (if bath night), put on pajamas, evening bottles
7-8pm- put babies to bed, clean up, make bottles for next day, clean Levi's helmet, give Leah's medicine and night feed
8pm-? I eat dinner, exercise, do anything else I want to do before going to bed ( I do go to bed way too late, but oh well)

Basically, it's non stop!  But I would not survive without this schedule.  When there are enough people around I can do random things during play times- sometimes even run errands.  When I have to take one kiddo somewhere, volunteers come to fill in for me.  We are lucky enough to have a group of people who come babysit at least one night a month for Dave and I to go out :)  We have also started going to our Bible study group again- we just alternate who goes each week.  So, we do get to escape the monotony every now and then :)

Funny and True Videos

These were brought to my attention by some fellow moms of high order multiples- we have to stick together.  Anyway, to us, these are hilarious!  I have had every single one of these questions and comments said to me by strangers on a regular basis.  It is amazing what people think is ok to ask a complete stranger sometimes.  For the record, I've answered honestly every time and resisted the urge to give a sarcastic comeback.  If you know me, you know that is quite an accomplishment!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

9 months!!!!

Well, we successfully made it through the 9 month well checks- thanks to my 6 helpers!  The pediatrician said we were like a "well oiled machine".  Then it occurred to me that our next well check is 12 months- I just can't believe we're that close to a year!  It really boggles my mind.

At 9 months the babies are definitely moving away from being babies and closer to being toddlers.  The  5 are all sitting independently and rolling (well, not so much rolling going on with Ben).   The bigs are trying really hard to go from laying to sitting on their own, but just can't quite get there.  Ben and Andrew are pros at holding their bottles, Levi can for most of the feeding, and Caroline will only hold her sippy cup.  Speaking of sippy cups, we have started the transition process by doing the afternoon feeding in sippy cups.  Guess who's the only one who fights it- Allison!!  They get 2 spoon feedings a day (lunch and dinner).  These have gone really well!  They've tried a variety of cereals and vegetables and are really tolerant of everything, but favorites are sweet potatoes and carrots.  The bigs are sleeping 11 hours straight, and the littles sleep 8.  Leah varies depending on her reflux.  They are becoming more and more social- interested in adults and each other and toys.  They like balls, rattles, the inchworm, anything that lights up and/or makes sounds, and jumperoos.  They like books, songs, when we talk to them, peek a boo, dance parties, and walks in the stroller.  They think Maggie is hilarious.  They're not really bothered by strangers- may stare for a minute or two, but pretty much if someone gives them attention they're all for it.   They can take pacis and bottles out of their mouths and put them back in and find toys they have dropped.  All of these new skills have made things a little easier on us!  Now on to their individual profiles which include the silly dwarf names my dad and I made up for them (as if they were the 6 dwarfs)...

Andrew Noah

Andrew is the tallest at 27.5 in (25%) and 2nd heaviest at 19 lb 9.5 oz. (35%).  He's in size 3 diapers and clothes are larger 6 mo, smaller 9 mo and anything in between. He gets 4 7 oz bottles a day plus the 2 spoon feedings.  Despite this picture, he actually smiles and does his hillbilly laugh all the time.  He is still the flirt of the group.  He can hold his own bottle and sippy cup with no problem and often only uses one hand.  He's a pro at finding his pacifier and putting it in his mouth.  He can easily entertain himself in his crib or on the floor- usually by rolling around and getting himself into odd positions.  It's always entertaining for us to see how we'll find Andrew in his crib.  He's the most interested in his siblings and Maggie; he's always reaching out to touch someone.  The one negative on Andrew- he whines!  Once he decides he wants something or wants to be done with something, it's non stop whining, crying, and kicking his legs.  I predict many tantrums with Andrew on the floor kicking his legs... ugh.  He also likes to make random loud, high pitched squeal sounds just so you remember that he's there.  Oh, and his twinkle toe self is almost completely corrected- thanks exersaucers!  Most people think he looks like a mini-Dave and a real little boy.  He also has the best posture when sitting- I for sure don't know where he got that from.  Dwarf name = Whiney

Benjamin Luke

Everyone loves Benny Boo Boo's cheeks!  He has lived up to his name (Big Ben) weighing in at 20 lb 13 oz (55%)!  His length is 26.4 in (3%).  Obviously he's a solidly stocky boy who doesn't let a bottle get by him.  Size 3 diapers and larger/wider 6 mo and 9 mo and anything in between for clothes.  He gets 4 7oz bottles a day plus the 2 spoon feedings.  Ben holds his own bottles and sippy cups, but is quite particular on which sippy cup he wants.  He is a very happy, easy going boy.  He smiles and laughs often.  He's quite content just looking around and makes little to no effort to roll.  I think he'll probably crawl before he rolls.  He's the only one I think intermittently responds to his name.  He can find his paci and put it in his own mouth and is great at entertaining himself.  He loves to slam his legs and arms, grab his feet, and JUMP.  He could jump all day long if I let him.  He has even chaffed his butt cheeks from jumping so much.  He is by far the most talkative.  He babbles and squeals all the time and frequently uses consonants.  Ben is also expressive with his face too.  He looks like my father-in-law and Dave's baby pictures.  We debated on his dwarf name and never decided, so you can pick your own favorite: Happy, Chubby, Fluffy, Chatty, Squealy

Caroline Grace

This sweet girl has the biggest smile.  Her measurements are 18lb 13.5 oz (51%) and 26.3 in (13%).  She's hanging in there with the big boys and is definitely part of the group we call "the bigs".  She's in size 3 diapers and clothes size 6 mo to 9 mo.  She eats 4 6 oz bottles per day plus 2 spoon feedings.  Although she is quite capable of holding her bottle, she chooses not to, but will hold her sippy cup.  She is the best spoon feeder of the group.  However, she does either put her fingers or her Sophie into her mouth after each bite which can get messy.  She is great at reaching and grabbing and has no problem taking toys from her siblings.  She likes to eskimo kiss and grab at your face or hands while you hold her.  She is the one who cries to be picked up the most.  She is very curious and interested in everything- a book, a shoe, a bib, a chair, whatever.  People say she looks like both of us, but the older she gets, the more she looks like me.  Caroline loves Maggie almost as much as Andrew does.  She has no interest in her pacifier and prefers her middle and ring fingers.  Her dwarf name is Tooty because she still farts like a man.

Leah Michelle

My sweet little Leah Peah girl.  She wasn't really happy with the outdoor picture idea.  She's definitely the little Leah weighing in at 11lb 14 oz (0%) and measuring 23.5 in (0%).  She's been growing length-wise lately and is long and skinny.  She's in size 1 diapers and size 3 and 3-6 mo clothes.  She eats just over 2 oz 3 times a day and continuously at night through her g button.  She has started eating 2 tsp of plain cereal a day.  Although it is a small amount, she is tolerating the solid food which is big progress for her.  She spends a lot of time in therapy working on her developmental skills and she just loves her therapy time.  Leah loves to cuddle and do tummy time.  She likes music and being around her siblings.  She loves going for walks in the stroller and dancing with mommy.  Leah smiles quite often now and is generally a sweet natured baby.  Her dwarf name is Cuddly.

Allison Kate

This little smidgen is something else.  She's got personality and fiery red hair to go along with it.  The most proportional baby, she weighs 14 lbs and measures 24.3 in- both at 0%.  In size 1, about to be size 2 diapers and 3 to 3-6 mo clothes.  She is offered 5 5 oz bottles a day with 2 spoon feedings.  She loves her spoon feedings and hates the bottles and sippy cups.  Her slogan is "Bottles are for babies and I'm a little lady."  She is often swaddled (or as we say- papoosed) to encourage her to eat without batting the bottle away.  Allison loves anything social- talking, making faces, making sounds.  She loves peek-a-boo so much she doesn't even care if you're playing it with a sibling; she'll still give you a huge smile.  She definitely likes to do things on her own terms, like last week when she decided she would sit independently and has done marvelously since.  She sucks her thumb while falling asleep and does this odd back bend scoot thing.  Makes diaper changing interesting when she's trying to back bend off the changing table.  People say she looks like my mini-me and always has.  Her dwarf name is Wiggly.  

Levi Thomas

Little Levi Guy!  or Little Guy Levi!  He weighed in at 14lb. 2.5 oz and 24.4 in- both at 0%.  He just made it to size 2 diapers and is still size 3 mo and 3-6 mo clothes.  He eats 5 5oz bottles a day plus 2 spoon feedings.  He varies on the solids, it usually takes him a few trials before he decides he likes something.  He's done well with the sippy cup; he holds that and his bottle for about the first half then gets distracted by something- usually his hands.  He loves to stare at his hands and feet, especially if his thumb is stuck between his fingers.  He prefers to slam his arms rather than his legs.  He is a rolling machine- even with his helmet and will attempt to roll over anything in his way.  We had to unelevate his mattress because he was rolling right down the incline.  He is very good natured and easy going most of the time.  The helmet doesn't phase him one bit- well, except for relearning how to sit while being top heavy.  Levi is quite smiley and loves to laugh at adults being silly and his siblings.  Levi loves to jump almost as much as Ben.  They don't even need a jumperoo- they'll jump on your lap.  He likes his paci while he's falling asleep.  His dwarf name is Rolly.  

There you have it- Perkins Pack at 9 months.  They are truly a delight to be around and watch grow.  Some days they completely wear me out, but it's worth it.  I'm always amazed at how much people love these babies whether they've met them or not and how much our family has impacted the lives of others.  Can't wait to see what God has in store for them.  I must give a shout out to our family and friends who have put in all the time to help us raise these babies- we could not do it without you!!!  We are so blessed and we thank God for all we have everyday.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Levi's Helmet

It's official!  Levi finally received his helmet to correct his unusually shaped head.  We've been acclimating to it all week and he's done great!  Still working on sitting up without tipping over, but he'll get used to the extra head weight soon.  As far as we know, he'll have to wear it 3-5 months.  I must say, I think he's one cute helmet head!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


My friend Marc took some of my pictures and added captions.  They are pretty much hilarious and suit the babies so well!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

1st Road Trip: Fort Smith, Arkansas!

Last weekend we drove to Fort Smith for my brother-in-law's wedding.  Everyone told me I was crazy, but Dave was a groomsman and I would've been so disappointed if I didn't get to see Kyle get married.  Overall, it went way better than we expected  (I did set very low expectations)!  Now I'll try to cover all the info that I'm frequently asked about the trip...

Normally it takes Dave and I 9 hours to drive to Fort Smith.  It took us 11 hours up there and just over 10 on the way back.  We stopped twice both times.  We stopped in parking lots at gas stations and changed diapers and fed them in the van then filled up with gas and had our bathroom break.  I told the babies they were not allowed to poop until we got there and they listened!  The day after we got home was official poop day in the Perkins house- seriously, they've never pooped so much.  The babies handled the car very well!  They were perfect until about the last hour each way- started crying and squirming.  Laura and I had our work cut out for us hopping between rows trying to entertain them.  

Laura is my favorite 14 year old who I convinced to come help me because it would be so much fun to go to a wedding and ride in a van for 2 days with all 8 of us :)  We had lots of family around to help once we got there, but I knew I'd need help on the road.  She was wonderful!  She did everything I asked with no complaints even when I woke her up at 6:30am and made her stay up to make bottles and feed the 2 at 10:30pm.  And she entertained us all with her imaginative 14 year old thoughts and life plans.  We couldn't have done the trip without her.  On the last day she did tell me "I'm kinda tired of babies, they're like 24/7."  Don't I know it!

We stayed at Dave's aunt and uncle's house.  They were so kind to let us come and take over their home, in addition to feeding babies, playing with babies, and driving Big Blue around Fort Smith so we didn't get lost.  Dave and I brought 3 pack n plays (the van was FULL), they had 1, and my in-laws brought 1, so with 5 pack n plays spread around the house only Ben and Alli had to share.  I had enough pre-made formula to cover everyone the whole time which made things easier in that area.  

For the rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception we had rooms set aside just for me, Laura, and the babies.  Plenty of family and friends were in and out helping us feed them and change them so Laura and I did get to venture out of the rooms here and there.  The rehearsal got a little crazy when it seemed like everyone was in the baby room and I couldn't keep track of who had which baby.  The wedding was much more controlled.  We attempted holding the babies in the back of the church, but that lasted about 20 seconds and we were back in the nursery.  Thankfully, Ashley (the bride) had set up a tv in there so we could watch the ceremony.  I brought their pajamas with us to both events so they could fall asleep on the way home and we'd just have to transfer them- this worked fairly well.  Caroline decided to cut her first 2 teeth while we were there and she was rather cranky the whole time.  Of course the 1 thing I forgot was the teething gel!  She enjoyed being held a lot.  Both nights the babies lasted until about 8:30 and it was time for us to leave.

Overall, it was fun, but exhausting and a lot of work.  Took me all week to recover.  Here are some photos of the trip...

Office pack n plays

dining room pack n plays
Portion of our stuff spread around the house

taking over the living room

cranky caroline

feeding at the rehearsal

feeding at the rehearsal

me with the bride and groom!

The in-laws all fancied up
Ready for the wedding!