Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Help

Possibly because I just watched the movie (again), possibly because I was inspired by Jaclyn Tubre’s words a couple weeks ago, or possibly because I’ve received a few of the nicest comments from people in the past couple of weeks about how I handle the kids, I decided to dedicate my bi-monthly blog:) to the people who make my extremely tough and trying job less so….”The Help.”

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Pius, Forrest, Danna and Laine in April.

First off, I would be remiss not to mention the man upstairs first.  He blessed me, not only with my children, but also with the (sometimes lacking) patience to handle them.  While there have been many times I have questioned His plans, I can picture His grin when things always tend to work out better for me.  "The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?" (Proverbs 20:24)

My beautiful wife, (I’ll steal from Garth Brooks here), “the sun, the rain, the fire, the ice, a little crazy but it’s nice, the New York, the L.A., every town along the way…”  She drives me so many directions and I wouldn’t be the person/father that I am without her.  She works so hard and I’m extremely grateful for the sacrifices that she makes for our squad everyday.

Grammy, Budda, Bucko, and Aunts Lainie and LaLa are the most frequent babysitters.  Each of their unconditional love and support for the kids and I are things that I couldn’t survive without.  Whether they are letting Moni and I go out on a date, or me go bowling or run errands while Moni works, their never-ending willingness (and eagerness) to come watch the kids is mind-boggling to me.  They each rarely tell me no, so I keep asking:)  Someday, hopefully I’ll be able to help them as much as they have helped me.

On the majority of days, it is just me and four 4-year-olds.  On these days, if I am going crazy and the kids are bouncing off the walls, I can post the goings-on on my Facebook page.  The response I get is usually pretty good.  So I consider my Facebook Friends “The Help,” as well.  It helps me to maintain my sanity that other people have gone through, sympathize with me, or just laugh at the things that the kids or I do.  I am able to connect with the adult world despite  the fact that I only actually speak to 4-year-olds for 95% of a lot of days.

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How the kids spend a lot of their time nowadays:)

People look at me with the kids and ask, “How do you do it?” all of the time.  I’m happy that I look and act sane enough for people to ask me that.  However, if people really knew the anxiety that I feel (almost all the time in public with the kids), they would probably have me admitted.  The kids do a pretty good job of making me look a lot better than I probably am.  I have all of “The Help” to thank.

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April in the Mid West, so here is our “Basement Bedroom” during the storms.

Until we all meet again, Billy is OUT!!!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Where did two months go?

I know Miss Danna is beautiful, and we do spend a lot of days as “Danna Day,” but 2 months with her day being up on the blog is, well, ridiculous.  I have reprimanded myself, trust me.  Now that I have publicly recognized the fact that I abandoned our blog (and it’s readers) for that long, I will let you know what has been going on in the past couple months…

The kids continue to attend pre-K and LOVE it.  Their teachers are incredible, and not a day goes by without each of the quads mentioning something about Miss Meier or Miss Glenda.  I watch them interact with the kids when we first arrive for school, and I can tell that they both have an incredible gift in dealing with little ones.  I can only hope we continue this luck with all of their teachers throughout their school years.

It is amazing the way all four of the kids have matured in the past couple of months.  I look back and read their blog for each of their day, and they have each grown up so much in that short of a time.  Their reasoning has seemed to expand so much, especially in the last couple of weeks.  For the most part, I can talk them of the ledge now:)  I wonder how long they will continue to think I am always right?

Do not get me wrong, we still have PLENTY of four-year-old moments:)  Because of their recent growth, though, I have to constantly remind myself, “Hey.  You’re dealing with four-year-olds.”  They have done a good job with each of their milestones.  We’re all fully potty trained through day and night now.  The boys want to “stand up and pee like Daddy,” but they struggle with their aim, but that is really the only problem we’ve had lately.  We still have an occasional accident, but they are getting fewer and farther between.

The boys have really taken to technology in the last couple of months.  Grammy has an I-Pad which is a new favorite and they like to play games on Moni’s and my phone.  It is amazing to me to watch them navigate through all of the games and play them.  What isn’t amazing to me is that they have spent around 20-30 dollars total on Grammy’s I-Pad and our phones on new games.  We have to watch them like hawks.

This past week has been the kids’ spring break.  We’ve had crappy weather, and they are itching to start getting outside regularly.  The warm winter we’ve had has helped, but like I said, we’ve received A LOT of rain lately.  However, I know the rain is much needed around here, so we can’t complain too much.

Moni continues to work her tail off at the ER, and I do my best to keep up with the laundry and dishes.  For the most part, the front room stays somewhat picked up, but I can’t say the same for the basement:(  I swear, I leave the kids unattended for five minutes and they will blow up any sort of order I was trying to accomplish.  It gets discouraging, but we do our best.

I hope everyone out there in blog-land is doing well.  I will start to update my twitter A LOT more often (140 character updates are a lot easier than an entire blog), so if I fall behind again, you can always get your Graf Quads fix by following me on twitter @quaddaddy21.  Until next time,

Billy

P.S.  About “next time,” I promise pictures:)

 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Danna Day 2012

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Danna at 4 (Family pics?  “Odie”)

Danna Day 2012 has arrived.  In a few years, I’m sure that Danna will expect everyone to serve her every need on this day…hell, she already expects people to serve her every need, Danna Day or not.  A couple years back, before she was walking, I wrote that Danna probably just thought she was one of those princesses that had me and her brothers here to carry her around on a platform.  Danna still believes this is her world and we all just live in it.

At the age of four, Danna is still a little slower than her brothers on reaching developmental milestones.  She keeps hitting the milestones, but it takes her a little longer to get there.  Her doctors told us to expect this for the first 5 or so years because she had such a rough life starting off in the womb.  Danna had IUGR (Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction) after she was conceived.  She was born at a svelte:) 1 pound, 10 ounces.

As for what our little peanut is like now…

Danna loves animals.  One of her absolute favorite places in the world is the zoo, but she especially loves doggies and to a lesser degree cats.  Her love of the domestic animals make us wonder if we might have a future veterinarian on our hands.  She has about a million stuffed doggies and while it used to switch regularly, for the last half a year or so, “Odie” goes everywhere with her.  To school?  “Odie” goes with her.  Grocery shopping?  “Odie.”  A wedding that she is the flower girl in?  “Odie” got earrings and a necklace and walked down the aisle with her. 

Danna also loves balloons, flowers and books, just not to the extent of dogs.  She has a few of these eccentricities that are adorable, but also challenging to deal with.  We lost “Odie” for about a week and that was a bad week.  If we go grocery shopping and she sees balloons, it gets pretty annoying trying to get her to understand those are “decoration balloons” and she doesn’t get to hold them.  She is getting a lot better at understanding she doesn’t get everything she wants.  Seeing as how I created this “monster,” it has taken quite a while breaking her of the spoiled routine, but she has really started to grow up about things.

Danna has her downfalls, just like the boys.  She honestly loves her brothers so much.  She gets upset when they get in trouble.  “Fo-Fo doesn’t want to sleep in the peapod.”  “Pius wants to have his spiderman mask.”  “LAINE DON’T WANT TO BE A JERK.  LAINE DON’T WANT TO CRY.”  “AAAAAAAHHHHHH!”  Laine is her hero.  If Laine is upset, we have a loud house.  While she gets upset for Pius and Forrest, if Laine is mad, she screams and cries.  We keep hoping this is a stage that will pass, but it has lingered on for about 6 months now.

Danna also has the strangest eating habits.  This probably leads to her small stature, but she doesn’t eat unless she really likes something.  If we ate cereal for every meal, she would probably be six feet tall already.  She LOVES cereal.  She also seems to prefer more adult foods.  What kid doesn’t like macaroni and cheese?  Danna will not eat that, but if she sees us eating a steak or some chicken, she is like a baby bird trying to score bites.  She is definitely going to be an expensive date…if anyone ever asks her:)

Danna’s 2nd day of life

Danna at 3 months next to a football.

Danna at 1

   

Danna on her 2nd birthday

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Danna at 3

Danna Lynn, your mommy and I love you so much.  You are the toughest little girl in the world.  You have fought through so many battles in your life and I know that your determination will take you wherever you want to go in life.  You are a beautiful, smart, loving little girl that makes us so proud.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Laine Day 2012

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Laine at 4

January 15th is “Laine Day.”  Our little Train is quite the character.  Born the smallest of the three boys (2 pounds, 4 ounces) he has never acted like the smallest.  He was usually the first to start achieving physical goals (rolling, crawling, walking, etc.) despite his lifelong battle with respiratory issues.  He still gets wheezy when he gets fired up and playing too hard, but he usually won’t slow down.

Laine loves people that he knows, but is probably the most stranger-shy.  Whenever we get around large groups of kids or people, he usually sticks pretty close to his family.  One of his new favorite sayings is, “I’m pretty shy.”  (So he obviously likes the attention he gets for this trait, which makes me wonder how shy he really is).  He does love being around his brothers, sister, uncles, aunts, cousins…and especially “his Grammy.”  Grammy (my mom) is his favorite person in the world…other than Mommy or Daddy.

Laine also seems to have a great sense of humor.  He laughs at funny parts of movies, he laughs at goofy things his brothers and sister do, and he just seems to like to laugh.  I remember hearing one time, the youngest of families tend to be the clowns.  While I don’t think he necessarily tries to make people laugh, he seems to recognize when people are trying to be funny and enjoys it.

Laine definitely, like ALL four-year-olds, has some bad traits.  One of his characteristics, his perceived maturity, is a good and bad thing.  Despite being the youngest, Laine sees himself as the boss of everyone.  He can get mouthy sometimes, because he thinks he knows what is best.

To hear Laine try to explain why things work they do is hilarious.  He will go into deep explanations about clouds, and “the shocking thing”, lights, whatever he thinks is needing explanation.  When the kids wake up in the mornings, Laine will go into dissertations about the ways of the world to his brothers and sister.  He is sure that he is right and his convictions are strong:)

Laine on his birthday (sometimes I forget about the CPAP)

Laine at 1

Laine at 2

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Laine at 3

Laine, you are a sweet boy.  Your teacher says that you like to be in leadership roles, and I am confident that you will use this leadership ability in good ways.  When you are in a good mood, you are so fun to be around.  We love you and are so proud of you.

Love,

Daddy and Mommy

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pius Day 2012

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Pius at his 4th Birthday

My “main man” Pius came home on January 9, 2008.  We are so proud of our 1st born.  Pius James Graf was the biggest at birth and he has always seemed to have a sense that he was the “big brother.”  Right after the kids were born, Pius and Danna got put into a room together.  During the early times in the NICU, Pius insisted that he would be facing Danna at all times.  The nurses would have to completely flip his body because, honestly, he would SCREAM if he wasn’t facing his little sister.

One of my absolute, favorite stories about the kids happened before they were born.  When we found out Danna was struggling in the womb (she didn’t have enough room, wasn’t getting enough nutrients, etc.) Pius moved himself in Moni’s belly.  He really dropped a few inches in the womb and Danna instantly had more room.  Also, during our sonos, Pius would always kick Laine or Forrest whenever they would crowd Danna.  Strange coincidence?  Probably, but he has seemed to relish the “oldest, leadership” role since the beginning.

I am doting on Pius, but he does have a few downfalls as well.  Pius is the sneakiest little shit I have ever met.  He is always up to something…always.  I know that we have made jokes about checking Pius’s bed for contraband, but we do.  Pius is the sneaky one that hides things (food, toys, knives,etc.) in his bed.

Pius is also the one that loves to “trick” us.  He is always trying to pull one over on Moni or me, his babysitters or visitors that come over.  Our little Pi-Pi knows no strangers and he makes every day a lot of fun.  Nothing fires him up more than being the center of attention (almost to a fault) and while it frustrates us, it is also one of his most adorable traits.

  

Pius on the day he was born

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Pius at his 1st birthday

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 Pius at 2

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Pius at 3

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Pius is so excited that his day falls on “championship day.”

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The night before Pius day, we had a little injury.

Pius James, you are my “main man,” and we are so proud of you.  You love sports, spiderman and attention and you are so fun to be around.  I hope you continue to look out for your brothers and sister and keep your great sense of humor.  You are a joy to be with.  Have a great “Pi-Pi Day 2012.”  We love you so much.

 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Forrest Day 2012

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Forrest Michael at 4

While we have slowed down on our blogging and have forgotten a few things over the past four years, we have continued to keep track of each of their days they came home from the NICU so they each can have 1 special day for themselves.  Forrest Michael was the first of the crew to come home.  January 1, 2008 was a very happy day for the Graf family.  At the ripe, old age of four, Forrest has developed some characteristics that have kept hold of our hearts, but also a few not-so-good ones, too.

Forrest is extremely smart.  This is probably why he loves to learn new things.  In the summer times, he loves going outside with Monica and helping her garden.  Outdoor work is one of Moni’s loves and she has passed this trait to Forrest.  Forrest will work with her and listen to everything she says about plants, trees and making things grow.  He listens and then remembers it all.

He also loves to learn about dinosaurs.  It is fun for us to bring out his toy dinosaurs and let him name them off for people.  Not only can he name each of them, he can also tell you fun facts about each of them.  “That’s the dromaeosaurus.  It is the fastest dinosaur.  It also is a carnivore and likes to eat other dinosaurs’ eggs.”  Good Lord, Son.  Where’d you learn all of that?  “Dino Dan” is currently his favorite show and he will sit at attention and listen to everything Dan says.

Forrest also loves to interact with other kids.  He doesn’t care if they are older.  He yearns to play games and be included.  This concerns me a little, as I worry he may be easily convinced to do things he shouldn’t, but hopefully we can continue to develop his conscience and he will be able to make good decisions.

As for the things we don’t like so much…

I believe Forrest may be the most stubborn person I have ever met.  When he does or doesn’t want to do something, he’s going to do things his way.  Last week, I was going to take them to look at Christmas lights.  I knew they would be up later than normal, so I made them take a nap.  The other three immediately went potty and went to their beds.  Forrest did not want to take a nap so he sat out on the couch and pouted.  Aunt Lainie was going to come and stay with him, but Moni finally convinced Forrest to take a nap…after he got to help her measure one of our bedrooms.  That was “Forrest’s idea” so therefore, it was acceptable to him to take a nap since he decided to do it.

Forrest also can get pretty whiny.  He seems to get bored easily.  When he gets bored he gets crabby.  It’s pretty hard to get four four-year-olds cleaned, dressed and loaded so we are home a lot.  I know it is partly my laziness, but taking them places is hard.  He is very creative, though, so when he’s not in a bad mood, he can entertain himself.  I definitely prefer him making up games to all the whining.

The day he was born:)

The very first “Forrest Day”

Forrest at 1

Forrest on his 2nd birthday 

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Forrest at 3

Forrest Michael, some day when you read this, I want you to know how much your mom and I love you.  We are so proud of you, and with your great attitude towards all the people you meet, you will be able to accomplish whatever you want.  Stay sweet, Fo-Mikey:)

Love,

Dad and Mom

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shocker Sound-Off

Hi everyone.  I hope everyone is ready for Christmas.  I will be at
All-Sports Wichita located in the Westlink Shopping Center, 8909 W.
Central Ave., to do a Quadfather book signing.  1410 AM KGSO will be
doing a live remote from All-Sports for "Shocker Sound-Off" (the
pregame show for Wichita State men's basketball).  As a Wichita State alum, (and former assistant basketball coach at Friends University) it is quite exciting for me to get a chance to do a signing as a small part of the show.  I've listened to the show when I can as part of the WSU pre-game at it's an excellent source of insight from the coaching staff and to get a sense of the pulse of the fans.  I've also been into All-Sports on a few occasions and I know it is a wonderful place to look for Christmas gifts for the sports fanatic in your family...even if they are KU fans:)

The show runs from noon to 2 p.m. this Saturday and, like I said, airs
on 1410 AM KGSO.  If you are from out of town and would like to listen to the show, you can stream it from www.kgso.com.  Seeing as how it is the WSU basketball team show, you probably won't have to hear me get on my soapbox and explain why my Broncos are playing so well and why Bama DOES deserve to be in the national championship so you don't have to worry about that:)

I hope to see a lot of you there and, if not, you get a chance to listen.

Happy Holidays,

Billy