Meet Keona

All day my head has been filled with adjectives that describe our Keona. Some of the first ones that came to me: strong, determined, and independent. Keona’s name means “God’s gracious gift” and that could not be more accurate.

When Keona meets someone new, I always find myself announcing that she was our “NICU baby”. She spent 13 days in the NICU after an artery in her umbilical cord collapsed near the end of my pregnancy. In those early days we were concerned if she would have developmental delays or if she would always be so much smaller than her twin sister, Amari. And the reason that I feel like her being our “NICU baby” is something worth announcing is because you would NEVER assume that this little firecracker was born prematurely at barely over 4 lbs! In the NICU, she even gave us a preview of her fiesty personality as she ripped her tubes and wires off multiple times a day.

         

Keona has grown into a strong-willed and independent little girl. She has very strong opinions about how things should be done and she is a bit of a neat freak. This girl does NOT like to be dirty. She loves to read and spend time outside. To mom’s dismay, she does not like to sit long enough to cuddle anymore, but is instead off discovering and playing. Keona likes to be in charge and if she doesn’t like something, she will let you know it! This girl is 2, going on 13. You will always be able to tell her apart from Amari by her signature curly hair compared to Amari’s perfectly straight hair. You will also hear us calling her a variety of nicknames, the most common being Keke, Keeks or Kona (what Amari calls her).

     

We knew that both girls would love being big sisters, but we never imagined that Keona would take to her new siblings the way that she has. The moment she hears a baby crying she is there in seconds to put a pacifier in their mouth, cover them up or give them kisses. Her telling her baby siblings “It’s okay angel” completely melts me. She loves to sing to them (Twinkle, twinkle little star is her specialty) and enjoys reading them books.

 

Witnessing this crazy girl and her sister grow into their personalities these 2 1/2 year has been an unbelievable experience. I know that they will continue to be wonderful big sisters and their bond with each other will continue to grow. We can’t wait to see the incredible people that they become over the years, and we are thrilled to be able to share them with all of you.

Lots of love,

The Sherwins

 

Meet Amari

You will learn very quickly that the twins, Amari and Keona, are absolutely NOTHING alike. I could not imagine life without these two very different little souls. Over the next few days we would like to introduce you to the twins and help you get to know them as individuals. Though they share a birthday and most of their material belongings, we believe that it is incredibly important to celebrate the things that make each of them unique. So now, let’s meet AMARI!

Amari was technically our first born! She came into this world just seconds before her sister. The moment I heard her first cry, I knew my life was changed forever. She already had me wrapped around that tiny little finger. She is our ONLY child that did not have to spend significant time in the NICU, she was only there for a few minutes.

Though she is only two, Amari constantly does things that impress or surprise us. She has the most kind and loving heart, and truly shows compassion that is well beyond her years. Even though she throws tantrums and has her meltdowns, like any two year old, it is not long before that signature Amari smile is back on her face. My mom often says that that smile could “melt icebergs”, and I sure think that it could.

          

As her mother, it has been so fun to watch her learning at this critical age in her development. Her vocabulary and memory shock me daily, as I often wonder “Where did she even learn that?!” The love that this girl has for her sister is one of the best parts about being Amari’s mom. If I give her a snack she ALWAYS asks for “one for Kona?”, and she will absolutely never go to bed without giving Keona a hug and kiss. Though she loves to play and be silly, you will often find Amari snuggled up and reading a book with one of her favorite people. She loves to have her hair done, but also loves to take it down, so if you see her with her hair in her face please just know that Mama tried!

We can’t wait for all of you to get to know our sweet Amari!

 

Meet Mom and Dad- Where it all began

Today, we celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary! It is incredible how quickly time flies by, but what is crazier is how much life can change so drastically in just 5 short years. Look at the tiny babies that we were 5 years ago! Oh if we only knew what God had in store for us!

                

Robbie and I weren’t together for very long before we knew that this was it for us. We never second guessed that we were absolutely meant for each other. Never would we have thought that by our 5th anniversary we would have one child to represent every year that we have been married. It goes without saying that having 5 children under the age of 3 is no walk in the park, but we would not trade life for anything. Even though, raising 5 children together has the ability to take a toll on any marriage. The sleep-deprivation, late nights, hormones, toddler tantrums, etc. are not the building blocks for a perfect marriage. These ARE however things that will teach you multitudes about yourself, test (and hopefully strengthen) your relationship, try your patience, build teamwork, and require clear and constant communication. I am not sure why God chose to trust us with these 5 little angels, but I sure am glad that He did.

We wanted to take this day as an opportunity to tell you guys a little bit about us: Mom and Dad. Though many of you may know us personally, we have had the pleasure of connecting with many people that we have not met in person. I want to welcome you into our life and our hearts, and help you to learn more about us. As always, if you have any questions, comments or requests of any sort, please never hesitate to reach out to us. So here it goes:

Mom/ Nadia: I am absolutely one of those girls that always dreamed of being a mother, however I never would have imagined being a mother of 5. I channeled my mothering instincts toward my teaching career where I taught a variety of grades and subjects before I settled comfortably into a Kindergarten classroom. I imagined that I was going to teach every year for the rest of my days, but as always, God had other plans. Now instead of teaching in the classroom, I will be spending a few years at home teaching my own children. Again, while this is never how I would have imagined my life, God makes no mistakes. I am excited about the transition to my new role of “Stay at home mom”- where the work is sure to be just as hard (if not harder)- My hat goes off to all stay at home moms out there- it is NOT an easy task and you are rockstars!

I love to craft (in my abundance of spare time-ha!), take pictures of EVERYTHING, snuggle babies, dance with toddlers, laugh constantly, and watch movies. I love to learn new things and accept any challenge life throws at me. I love my family, our friends and our God more than anything. I, like most moms on the planet, am constantly trying to find ways to be a better mom, wife, homemaker, and teacher. I hope to always strive to be grow and learn to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and the woman that God called me to be.

Dad/ Robbie: Robbie keeps everyone in our full house laughing. I always joke that he will always be my biggest child, in the best way possible. He has the most positive attitude to anyone I have ever met and he is not overwhelmed by any situation. Robbie has worked as an internet and marketing director, and is transitioning in a recent promotion toward the corporate side of car sales. This new position is another sign that God has a plan for us, as he was offered this position the DAY BEFORE the triplets were born. He is incredibly hard working and always looks forward to going to work, training employees to be successful, and meeting new people.

Robbie has an almost unhealthy obsession with cats (even though we are both allergic), and will often be found snuggling with one of ours. He enjoys looking at silly things and watching funny videos on the internet. He will do absolutely anything to make someone laugh and finds joy in making other people happy. He is the swaddle champion of the world, and absolutely prides himself on this achievement. He also probably deserves a medal for his love of vacuuming and cleaning (Am I the luckiest wife or what?!)  He loves to learn about and watch extreme weather and could definitely be considered an amateur storm chaser (to my dismay). Our whole family is so blessed to have him, as he is definitely the glue that holds this family together.

 

As you all get to know us better, we hope to have the opportunity to get to know your guys as well! We will be posting profiles on all of the kids individually throughout this week.

Love to you all,

Nadia and Robbie+ the Sherwin tribe

 

NICU strong- Parents of Preemies Day

This morning when we woke up after a mostly sleepless night, I had a message from a friend of mine wishing us a “Happy Parents of Preemies Day!” After some research, I discovered that today (the first Sunday in May) is, in fact, a celebration of parents of preemies! What interesting timing! There is no doubting the fact that a baby born prematurely has a great deal of obstacles to overcome, but the parents of these tough (but tiny) babies are definitely required to take on a role that no parent should have to endure.

We were blessed with a very low-key and complication-free pregnancy, as far as triplets go. At every appointment, the doctors would discuss with me how this pregnancy was defying all odds and used phrases like “statistical anomaly” and “miracle”. We could not be more thankful for making it to our goal of 35 weeks. No bed rest, no hospitalization. We went into the operating room that morning absolutely positive that in an hour or so, we would have 3 perfectly healthy babies in our room with us. We were confident that we would be bringing them home with us. After all, there were no complications. Why would we start now?

During surgery, I began to lose the confidence that we had clung to so tightly. Mila was born first, and before I was even able to see her beautiful little face she was rushed off to another room. The same happened with Colette, who came next. Noah was born last, and after a quick kiss he was taken to a warming bed across the room. I watched the nurses worried faces and looked on as I saw his chest move up and down rapidly with each labored breath. All I remember thinking at the moment was how badly I wished that I could breath for him. It wasn’t long before they rushed him away also. So there I was, a mom with 3 brand new children, but none of them in my arms. There is no way to explain the emptiness that a parent feels when you are unable to see and hold your child. But we had been through this all before with Keona just a few years prior… you would think being an “experienced” NICU mom would make this easier. However, being through it before actually made this second NICU stay even harder. I was painfully aware of what struggles were ahead of us this time, we were all too familiar the roller coaster that we had just gotten on. Over 24 hours passed before I was able to crawl myself into a wheelchair to finally see them in person rather than in pictures and videos from my hospital bed.

When you become a parent of preemies, every expectation you had about this monumental moment of your life changes in an instant. Instead of celebration, we were cautiously watching monitors with our hearts racing at every beep we heard. Instead of snuggling peacefully in our room, we were maneuvering wires and tubes just to be able to hold them for a few fleeting moments. Instead of visitors oo-ing and aw-ing over our sweet new babies, they remained quarantined and were not to be held outside of designated “touch times”. NICU parents are required to learn new vocabulary and terms that I personally hope to never have to hear again. DSAT, CPAP, braycardia, bilirubin, oxygen, and NG tube became terminology used in every day conversations. Constant beeping from the monitors was the sound that our children would hear as they drifted off to sleep, instead of lullabies.

10 of the longest days of our lives…but even so, I can’t help but think that it was ONLY 10 days. Though I would not wish a NICU stay on any baby, parent or family, I cannot help but be incredibly grateful that our stay was only 10 days. I can’t help but feel incredibly blessed that though we were in the NICU, that our babies were the healthiest babies in the unit. My heart broke as I saw other parents watch their incredibly tiny babies through the foggy plastic of an incubator, unable to touch them. I watched parents’ hopeful faces as they walked in their baby’s room not knowing what to expect each day. I witnessed their tear-filled eyes as they left to go home without their child yet again, day after day. And though we did not personally witness it (thank God!), I know that there are some parents that never get the opportunity to bring that beautiful baby home, as they go home with Jesus instead.

So parents of preemies, in the midst of the craziness, this is your day. Your day to acknowledge the most heartbreaking days/weeks/months of your life. Your day to acknowledge your own strength and the obstacles that you and your family have already overcome together. Your day to hold that beautiful baby a little tighter (in your arms or in your heart) as you recognize the battle that you have fought together. This experience has changed your life forever, and you will forever be stronger because of it.

May God bless you all!

Check out this video at Brittany Ebany Photography for a beautiful compilation of pictures of our NICU experience!