Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Beanie Beds

I have had several people ask me about the beanie beds mentioned in my last post. They are made by a woman named Elva. She has been making them for about 12 years. She doesn't have a web site, but her e-mail is The beds are $22 plus shipping which is about $6. She has them on hand and can mail them any time.

My babies used them for about the first four months, and I loved them. Below are a couple of pictures of them. The first picture was taken during a photo shoot for an insurance magazine, so it doesn't really show how we actually used the beds, but you can get an idea of what they look like. The second picture is of babies actually sleeping with the beds. The beds are washable, but I usually put a blanket over the beanie bed so that I didn't have to wash them very often.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Baby Stuff Showdown

***First, let me begin this entry with the disclaimer that the information given in this blog is strictly my opinion.***

As the mother of seven children, five of those being quintuplets, I have had the opportunity to try out and compare many different baby products. As a statistician, I always thought my dream job would be to work for Consumer Reports, where I could just run tests on all kinds of products to see which ones were the best. Unfortunately, time did not permit me to run any scientific tests and collect data for these baby products, but I thought I would share my opinions anyway---based on my personal experience.


Winner: Diaper Champ

I have used both, and the Champ is far superior. Both of these products seek to minimize the pungent aroma of dirty diapers in the nursery, and as far as that goes, they are about equal. The Diaper Genie requires special bags (not cheap) and more effort than the Diaper Champ. With the Champ, any bag will do and it is very fast and easy to use.


Winner: Enfamil

To be fair, Enfamil is supplying us with a year’s worth of formula for the babies, which is an incredible savings for us, so of course I am going to be a little bit biased on this one. Similac has a similar program for quintuplets, so I did get to choose in the beginning. With Riley and Kaiya, I found that Enfamil mixed up better, smelled better, and caused fewer stains than Similac. Let me also say that formula must meet strict dietary guidelines, so nutritionally, all brands are essentially the same. Also, with my older two kids we regularly used the Target Generic and the Carnation brands and I liked both of those as well.


Winner: Cradle Swing

Although the cradle swings are more expensive, I think they are worth the extra money! My babies like the side-to-side motion of the cradle swings MUCH better than the forward and back motion of the regular swings. The cradle swings can actually be rotated to rock either direction.


Huggies wipes are softer, more cloth-like and easier to get out than other brands. I personally like the fragrence-free ones the best.


Winner: Gripe Water

Both of these products are remedies for gas and tummy discomfort. The Mylicon drops are made of simethicone (think Gas-X for babies). The gripe water is an herbal formula. For my babies, the Mylicon drops didn’t seem to do anything, but the gripe water worked miracles---especially for Ryder in the early days. The gripe water box says that it can also cure hiccups, and amazingly it does! Supposedly it can also cure hiccups in adults too, but I haven’t tried that yet.


Winner: Playtex Drop-Ins

Nearly all of the bottle packages claim that their bottle can do everything short of curing cancer and creating world peace. In my experience, I did not notice a difference in the brands as far as air intake and reduction of colic and gas. Here are the Pros and Cons of each bottle that I found:

Avent: Pros: Easy to read numbers on the side Cons: more leakage problems

Dr. Browns: Pros: Easy to read numbers on the side, no leaks, nice shape Cons: extra parts to clean

Playtex: Pros: come in all five of my colors, disposable liners mean fewer dishwasher loads, heat quickly in water Cons: measurements are harder to read, buying liners can get expensive

As a sidenote: Target makes the best generic liners for the Playtex bottles and they do go on sale every once in a while!


Winner: Pampers.

My all time favorite diapers are the Pampers Swaddlers (Pampers premium diaper line). They are soft, rarely leak and have minimal graphics on them. However, they are a bit more expensive, and when you multiply things by five it really adds up, so I actually use Huggies (at Sam’s Club the Huggies box contains nearly 50 more diapers than the Pampers box for almost the same price---that’s a whole day and a half worth more!) As far as generics go, I haven’t had any luck finding a generic brand that I really like. I definitely notice a difference in leakage when I use the generics.

A few other baby products I wouldn’t want to live without:

Crumb Catcher Bibs (Baby Connection brand from Walmart)---these are the best bibs ever. They bottoms snap up to form a little pocket (the crumb catcher). The pocket sticks out a little ways so it actually does catch most everything. When the baby is done, the bib unsnaps flat so that clean-up is easy!

Lavender Lotion: I use this on my babies every night before bed and they love it! The lavender scent is very relaxing.

Beanie Beds: Someone in Arizona gave me these and they were so wonderful for the first four months. They gave the babies a cozy, more comfortable place to sleep, since they have to be on their backs.

Precious Moments Classical Music CD: We turn this on every night when we are doing the bedtime routine. The music is very soothing and relaxing.

Baby Bjorn: This really wasn't that useful for the quints, but when I had Kaiya, it was a lifesaver! It is very easy to get the baby in and out of (vs Snugli brand which was nearly impossible for me---this was a few years ago, though, so they might make them differently now).

PS---I wanted to mention that the fabulous facelift my blog received is due to Hilary Keegan. After seeing the pictures on my last post, she generously designed a new layout for me. I love it! Thanks Hilary!!


Monday, February 11, 2008


On January 31st, the quints officially turned six months old! It is amazing how fast time flies! Six months is such a fun age. They are very interactive and have such cute personalities. They are starting to discover the world around them, but aren’t quite mobile enough to cause problems. A couple of the local news stations ran stories the week of the babies’ six-month birthday. Check out Jayson’s blog for links to the news stories. One of my favorites was when the anchors from KEYE came to do a volunteer shift with the babies.

Ryder, Kaydence, Rustin, Kyndall and Kassidy loved watching themselves on the news. Kyndall was worried that the camera would add ten pounds to her petite figure and Ryder was concerned that his quotes would be taken out of context, but in the end, all the babies agreed that the stories were pretty good.

Now that the babies are six months old, we have started using the high chairs for their intended purpose---feeding! Solid foods have gotten mixed reviews from the babies. Ryder and Kaydence can’t seem to get enough. They love everything I have tried on them. Rustin is starting to get used to the idea of eating baby food, though for some reason he would rather lick it off of his bib than eat it from the spoon. Kassidy and Kyndall want nothing to do with solid foods. We think we have made some great progress with Kyndall because she has stopped bursting into tears at the mere sight of a spoon.

Look how perfectly these five high chairs fit along the back wall of our kitchen! It is a good thing we didn't have six...

Kassidy's face pretty much sums up her feelings about solid foods.

I consider it a small miracle that for the first six months of their lives, the quints managed to stay totally healthy! Despite the fact that we have so many people coming into the house and Riley and Kaiya bringing home germs from school, their worst ailments were a few stuffy noses. This past week, however, has been a different story. A week and a half ago Kaiya caught some kind of virus that included a couple of days of low-grade fever, runny nose, sneezing and coughing. Despite my best attempts to keep her away from the babies during that time, the sickness quickly spread to other members of the family. I really can’t complain too much, because as far as sicknesses go, this one was pretty mild. However, having a bunch of sick babies around certainly made life interesting!

In honor of the babies six-month birthday, my friend, Kristen Duke, who is a fabulous photographer, came over to take pictures of the babies. My grandma (the babies great-grandma) was in town visiting so we also took some "Four Generation" shots with each of the girls. Kristen took the picture at the top of this post, as well as the pictures that follow. Check out her website at:

Great-Grandma Rappleye with Kassidy, Rustin, Kyndall, Ryder and Kaydence