Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lions and Quints and Quads, Oh My!

On our recent trip to Denver, we met up with the Arnold Family at the Denver Zoo. Maureen Arnold and I have been in contact ever since the quints were little. Maureen has two older girls who are the same ages as Riley and Kaiya, and she has a set of quadruplets that are just a few months older than my quints. They live in Wyoming, but were willing to drive a few hours so we could get our two families together for the first time. It was so much fun! We have so many similarities in our families and our situations that it was great to be able to talk about our struggles and successes and compare notes.

The kids had a great time as well. The Denver Zoo is awesome, and all the kids enjoyed seeing the animals. The Riley and Kaiya bonded right away with the Arnold girls (Brooklyn and Alyssa). It was kind of funny to listen to their conversations. One I overheard went like this:

Riley: So is it really loud at your house all the time?

Brooklyn: Yes! Sometimes all the babies are crying at the same time!

Riley: That is the same way at our house. I can hardly hear myself think!

It was a fabulous day, and I hope that we can meet up with the Arnolds again next time we go to Colorado.
The Arnolds and the Wilkinsons at the Denver Zoo--4 adults + 4 "big kids" + 9 3-year-olds

The Quints and the Quads check out the giraffes

Ryder and Rustin---best buddies!

Looking at the Rhinos---every time we get together with someone whose kids are the same age as mine, I am reminded of how SHORT we are---With me being 5' 2" and Jayson being 5' 7", our kids aren't going to be starring on any basketball teams!

Lunch Break: Kassidy, Kaydence, Kyndall, Rustin, and Ryder

Lexie, Rylee, Maddox, Maureen (mom), Matt (dad), and Shilah

Alyssa, Brooklyn, Grandma Wilkinson, Riley, Kaiya

Quads + Quints: Rylee, Shilah, Lexie, Maddox, Ryder, Kyndall, Rustin, Kassidy, Kaydence. We always get a lot of interesting looks and comments when we take the quints places, but we REALLY got some looks with both families together!

Riley and Grandma Wilkinson---I love this picture!

5 little monkeys looking at 5 little monkeys

The Dads with all the kids---is that a crazy amount of kids, or what!!!

The Moms: Rachelle & Maureen

I thought it was quite appropriate that the sculpture the kids were climbing all over was entitled "Abundant Joy". That sums up our lives pretty well :-)

PTBC Update: Today was day 2 of "Potty Training Boot Camp"....pretty much more of the same. Lots of accidents (10-#1 and 2-#2) and only Rustin has figured out how to make things come out on the potty. Spot Shot has become my new best friend. I am confident that the rest of the kiddos will catch on any day now...at least that is what I keep telling myself :-)


Monday, August 30, 2010

Report from the Trenches...Day 1 of PTBC

Ryder, Rustin, Kykndall, Kaydence and Kassidy

There's no turning back now...Potty training has begun. Day one of "Potty Training Boot Camp" is over and I still haven't decided whether or not it was successful. The kids were super excited to pick out a pair of underwear to put on this morning. I set the timer and every 30 minutes, we all marched into the bathroom for a potty break. Potty Elmo showed them how it was done (which they all thought was completely hilarious). They all seem excited about the concept of being potty trained, but they haven't quite figured out how to put it into practice.

Of course, being a statistician, I am all about the numbers, so I tried to keep track of all the happenings at the house today. The good news is that Rustin knows how to make things happen on the potty. In fact, he managed to get something out every single time he sat down. He was quite proud of himself and we all clapped and cheered every time he did something. He also enjoyed picking out his two M&M's every time. The bad news is that there were 15 "she she" accidents and 1 poop accident, and none of the other kids ever got anything to work on the potty. But, on a positive note, they all enjoyed putting on nearly every pair of underwear that they owned throughout the course of the day!

Things were a bit chaotic at times. Some kids wanted to stay on the potty and try for a while. Others wanted to be done two seconds after they started. Some loved to wash their hands and others didn't. At one point, I was in the bathroom with Ryder and Kassidy, trying to get their hands clean an underwear back on. By the time I finished with them and returned to the kitchen, Rustin and Kyndall had dumped the contents of a juice box on the floor and were having a grand old time skating in it. While I was cleaning up that mess, Kassidy had an accident, so it was back to the bathroom to clean her up. At least there is never a dull moment around here! (I only wish now that I had taken more pictures!)

Breaking News!

We interrupt the regularly scheduled trip report to bring you some breaking news….POTTY TRAINING HAS COMMENCED AT THE WILKINSON HOUSE!

As early as Wednesday morning, signs of impending potty training were spotted at the home of the three-year-old quintuplets. Nexder Naybore* who lives down the street from the Wilkinsons reported, “I saw Rachelle return from the store with M&M’s, star stickers and carpet cleaner--I knew it could only mean one thing!”

Luvstoo Reed*, the local librarian stated, “Rachelle came into the library a few days ago and checked out five children’s books about going potty, a DVD called “Potty Power” and three nonfiction books about potty training toddlers. She also put six additional books and DVD’s relating to potty training on hold. I think that is come kind of record.”

The quints are reportedly excited about the prospect of getting to wear big-kid underwear and learning how to go “she-she” on the potty, however none of them fully grasps the concept of going to the bathroom.

When interviewed, Rachelle stated, “I’ve been terrified of potty-training the quintuplets, pretty much from the day we saw them all on the ultrasound. I think I have done a really good job of putting it off as long as possible. Now that the quints are three and we are done with vacations for a while, I have run out of excuses!”

Riley, older brother to the quints, is calling it “Potty Training Boot Camp”. He told reporters, “At first I was looking forward to the quints being potty trained…I am a practical person and I was excited about the money we would be saving every month by not having to buy diapers anymore. I was hoping we could use the surplus to go to the movies or buy new LEGOs or something. Unfortunately, my mom says that the money will probably have to be set aside so that the carpets and couches can be replaced when this whole potty-training adventure is over.”

Sources close to the Wilkinsons say that both Rachelle and Jayson remain optimistic in the face of this huge challenge. Both hope the quints catch on quickly. Stay tuned for more updates and an inside report from the first day of “Potty Training Boot Camp”…

*Note: some names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Diary of a Wilkinson Kid

When we got to Denver, "Grandma Wilkinson" was ready with boxes of treasures for all the kids. Riley's box had a little notebook in it which he decided to use as a journal during the trip. He did a pretty good job describing our first few days there, so I thought I would let him tell the story for this blog entry :-) The following was copied word for word from his journal---I did change the spelling of a few words, but other than that, I left everything as he wrote it...

My Trip to Colorado, Chapter 1, Book 1

Hello, if you are reading this, I suggest you shut this book. Unless you want to hear about all the things I do. Let me fill you in. I am the brother of the quints and a sister named Kaiya. If you don’t know what quints are, they are when FIVE babies are all born at once. So video people come and video us. You might think “Wow, you’re famous” or you might think “Duh!”

This summer we went to Colorado. It took us 15 hours of crying, poopy diapers and Dora. So we set off. We were doing good until a thunder storm hit! Me and my sister got worried, so we took out our Book of Mormons and opened to a random page. Kaiya found a good verse. We both read it with a flashlight and said a prayer. Soon the rain stopped and there was less thunder. When we got there, we jumped into our pj’s and hopped into our beds.

A rare moment in the car when all five of the quints were SLEEPING! Yay!

In the morning, our grandma gave us show boxes with stuff. We gobbled down our breakfast and threw on our Sunday clothes. Even though we were in a hurry, we still got there late. I had an awesome class. We talked about David and Saul. Then we hitched up and went home. When we arrived at our grandma’s house. We gulped down our lunch and I played with a helicopter.

The Quints in their Sunday Clothes on the porch swing: Kyndall, Rustin, Kaydence, Ryder and Kassidy

After dinner, we hurried to bed. In the morning, I felt refreshed. I decided to play LEGOs so I did. A few minutes later, I had a serious thought. I decided that doing my math was a better idea than doing LEGOs, so I finished my math. It took a while, but it was worth it.

Chapter 2

We swallowed our breakfast and I ran upstairs to read. I love reading. It’s just a thing you get addicted to for me. In fact, I read so much my mom takes away the privilege of reading. It is a spectacularly awesome thing to me, so I never let my book go to book jail. You are probably like me because you are reading the one and only copy of this book.

Today we get to go to the dinosaur tracks. Knowing that makes me feel great—a momentary feeling that you only feel at certain times. For me it’s when you have something special happen to you, like getting baptized. At the baptism, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. When we got there [to the dinosaur tracks], we had to park in the dirt because there was a gate that only authorized people could pass, so we had to walk the rest of the way. A few minutes later we exhaustedly arrived. The prints were big—well big compared to our feet.

Afterwards we had a picnic. In the place we found for our picnic, there were grapes growing. We had so much fun.

Dinosaur Tracks

Kaiya, Kyndall, Kaydence, Rustin, Riley, Ryder and Kassidy

Climbing on the tracks: Kassidy, Ryder, Kaydence, Rustin and Kyndall

Grandma and Grandpa Wilkinson with all the kids

The picnic

Kassidy and Ryder playing under the picnic table.

Afterwards we went to Red Rock. Red Rock is a place where there are really big rocks! We got to go 7000 feet high! We took loads of pictures.

Red Rocks. Built into the red rocks is a huge arena where they often have concerts and other performances.

Kyndall, Ryder, Rustin and Kaydence (Kassidy went ahead with Grandma)

Riley "holding up" the city of Denver

Looking over the railing: Kassidy, Kaydence, Kyndall, Rustin and Ryder

More looking: Kyndall, Kassidy, Kaydence, Rustin and Ryder

Kyndall, Grandpa Wilkinson, Ryder, Kaydence, Riley, Rustin, Kaiya, Grandma Wilkinson and Kassidy

Riley and Kaiya

When we finally, exhaustedly, thirstily, but definitely made it home, we had dinner. After dinner an amazing surprise came over our house. We discovered there was a rainbow. I immediately took out my handy video camera and videoed it lots. You might think “Oh, a rainbow.” Or you might think “WOW!” It wasn’t a normal rainbow--it was a full one!

Kaiya with the double full rainbow---I couldn't fit the whole thing in the picture, but it was a great rainbow!

Me and Kaiya jumped in our beds and slept in. In the morning my mind was not processed. I knew that because I tried to do my math, but failed. My brain was still tired, so I did LEGOs. LEGOs are a thing that many people like, but if you don’t like LEGOs than you won’t understand until you play with them. It would be quite understandable because most people who would actually bother to read this would probably be girls, but I’m not sure. I’ll actually probably be reading this to my children in the future. Speaking of the future, in the future you might do anything…all you can do is guess. I want to be an author. Did you notice that word “want”? I want to be an author, but that doesn’t mean that I will. So after I played LEGOs, I had a waffley breakfast. After breakfast, we went to the Horton’s.

The "waffley" breakfast

Now, you are probably expecting something different, but I haven’t written in a long time---well let’s say two days---so I’m still at Colorado. You might be thinking, “What about the Hortons?” or you might be thinking, “This is just a dumb thing to get the reader’s attention.” WHAT? See--you might have seen that and thought, “I have to read more to see what that was all about.” So you read on. Or you might have just read on thinking what a great book this is. I think you should just forget about the Hortons because I forgot to write about them. I mean I have been very busy with math and other stuff like going to the zoo today.

Visit with the Hortons! Liz, Kaydence, Kaiya, Kassidy, Riley, Ryder, Megan, Rustin, Megan's friend Sedona, and Kyndall. Liz was one of my dearest friends who helped me out a ton when the quints were born. On the quint's first birthday, she moved to Colorado Springs :-( We have really missed her!

The quints found the bird bath in the backyard and were very occupied making "baby food"

Everyone also loved the big hammock! I am only sad I didn't get a chance to try it out.

Ryder, Kaydence, Kassidy, Rustin and Kyndall---We went to a nearby park to feed the fish.

Riley and Kaiya

All the kids! Colorado was SO beautiful! By the end of our trip, I was ready to trade in the hot, humid Texas weather and move there :-) I just had to keep reminding myself that it snows in Colorad during the winter, and winter in Texas is awesome!

Stay tuned for pictures of the zoo, and everything else that Riley didn't write about :-)


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Packing for a Party of Nine

Getting ready for a road trip with seven kids can be a little overwhelming. It is amazing how much STUFF you need to take for five three-year-olds, not to mention the rest of us! Although it feels like I drive a bus, our 12-passenger van really doesn’t hold a lot, once you get all the people in. So, we are forced to get creative to fill every ounce of available space. Here’s how it went down…by the numbers:

5 pack-n-plays
1 duffel bag
1 travel bag
1 camera bag
1 purse
1 netbook computer
5 car seats
1 booster seat
2 DVD player screens
1 portable DVD player
2 iPods
9 sets of headphones
1 box of diapers
5 Puddle Jumper life vests
5 blankets
5 nuggies
4 pillows
1 stroller (would be more but I left a couple in Arizona that my mom is bringing)
1 large cooler
4 packages of baby wipes
8 16 qt storage containers with quint clothes
1 shoebox-size storage container with kids hair supplies
2 backpacks
1 bag with “rewards” for not fighting in the car (for Riley and Kaiya)
2 cell phones
84 Children’s DVD’s (Don’t ask me why I brought so many since the only ones the quints wanted to watch were Dora!)
1 large box containing snack food
50 plastic cups for holding snacks
1 roll of paper towels
10 grocery bags to use for trash
2 adults
7 children

Plastic Storage Bins for the Quints clothes. My mom used to pack the kids clothes this way when we went on road trips growing up. It works out great---not only can these containers fit in small spaces, there is no need to unpack when we get to our destination---the containers act as "drawers" for the quints stuff.

Front seat of the van---every inch of under bench storage was utilized. Fortunately, the quints still have really short legs, so we could put things underneath their feet also.

Middle Row--we also had two suitcases on the floor in front of the bench (you can see one suitcase, but the other one isn't there yet)

Back Row---this one is a little tricky---it doesn't have as large of a storage area so I stuffed diapers and wipes in the smaller openings.

The Back (this was the night before, so it is still missing a suitcase, life-vests and the smaller bags)

We also have a small cargo carrier that attaches to the trailer hitch on the back. It was great for sticking pack-n-plays and strollers.

Kyndall, Rustin, Kaydence, Ryder and Kassidy---After a short (ha, ha) 15.5 hour drive, we made it to Grandma's House! The quints were quick to find the porch swing the next morning.

Strike a pose--Grandma and Grandpa gave the quints their birthday presents---the girls got princess "tippy toes" skirts and ruffle bottom shirts, matching scarfs and purses.

Kaydence, Kassidy and Kyndall

The boys got Batman capes and shirts and a Batman car.

From behind

Ryder and Rustin