Remember the Cutest Quads? The stars of our Jan/Feb 2017 cover are now active, adorable toddlers, and the whole Faraji family has been on a nonstop adventure.
Since we first featured these adorable miracle babies in the January/February 2017 edition of Lake Mary Life, they have been keeping plenty busy. The Faraji Seven – parents Ryan and Amie; big sis Isla; and now-two-year-old quadruplets Laurel, Izzy, Brenna, and Robin – rang in 2019 in style.
“Took our New Year’s Eve party on the road this year!” Amie posted on social media. “Pizza, games, balloon drop, cookie toast & kids in bed by 8:00!”
The family has been on the move, too. The past year saw road trips from Florida to Ohio, where Ryan’s family resides, with stops in Virginia.
“Family is so important to both of us, and since we do not have any family in Central Florida, we’ve always made a point to visit both of our families a couple of times a year,” says Amie.
In the summer of 2017, the family spent a couple of weeks driving up to Amie’s family reunion in New York and then to Ohio
“It took our minivan and a packed cargo trailer to travel with everything we needed!” Amie says.
During the first trip, they broke up the drive and spent a night in a hotel, but, as Amie recalls, “It turns out unpacking five kids for one night was way too much work. Once that lesson was learned, we’ve mostly driven straight through.”
Any other travel tips for trekking with five toddlers?
“Keep the snacks flowing, give up on balanced meals, and let them watch what they want – even if that means endless back-to-back viewings of Rudolph!”
The family participated in the Walk for Winnie fundraiser in 2016 and again in 2018 to give thanks for the care the girls received in the NICU at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. During last year’s event, mom and dad sported pink capes with Faraji Four emblazoned on the backs. The quads wore pink shirts with their names, birth dates, and birth weights.
“I was so excited to raise money and support the NICU that was so wonderful to our girls,” says Amie. “It was great because, at two-and-a-half, they could walk the entire way and enjoy the festivities.”
The family was also able to reconnect with some of their nurses and respiratory therapists.
“At the walk, there was a NICU incubator on display, and Robin stopped to look inside – it took me right back to our time in the NICU,” Amie says. “To remember her being under two pounds and wondering if she would survive, laying in that box, separated by thick plastic, unable to hold her or even touch her without permission – and then seeing her now as a thriving toddler, my heart is so overwhelmed with just how lucky and blessed we are.”
In October, the Farajis took their first real vacation to Anna Maria Island and visited the beach where Amie and Ryan were married in 2010.
“After a few successful trips to visit family, I had a crazy idea to attempt an actual vacation,” laughs Amie. “What better place to take them than to the beach where it all started? The island has a piece of our heart. We lucked out with an amazing week of weather with no red tide effects.”
The quads and their sister loved the sand and spent hours digging and building castles and splashing in the water.
“Back in 2010, had anyone told us eight years later we would be back on this beach as a family of seven, we wouldn’t have believed it!” says Amie. “Our plan for the American norm of two kids seems a lifetime ago, and while five kids is a TON of work, we wouldn’t trade our norm for anything.”
Much to the chagrin of Mickey Mouse’s accountants, the family took full advantage of the kids-under-three-free policy and became annual passholders at Disney World for a year.
“We started off with a holiday visit in 2017 and ended with a holiday visit in 2018,” says Amie.
Comparing pictures of the two trips reveals just how much the quads have grown.
“They loved meeting characters and getting pictures taken,” says Amie.
After older sister Isla (now four) wore an Elsa dress to a Disney on Ice show, the quads were determined to take a picture with Elsa. They also loved the shows, parades, and rides, “although, to be honest,” Amie says, “the monorail is always the most talked about part of each trip.”
Day to day, the Faraji family keeps a busy schedule.
“The key to our sanity is getting out of the house,” says Amie. “Our weekly schedule has evolved as the girls have grown.”
Since they are almost three years old, the quads’ naps are a little more flexible, so the family is able to experience plenty of fun outings.
“I try to get out of the house every morning and make it home for lunch and nap, and then they don’t mind spending the afternoon playing at home while I accomplish things around the house and make dinner,” Amie explains.
Mom and the girls attend MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), both of which have great children’s programs and allow Amie to grow in her faith and get some invaluable adult interaction.
The Farajis were also invited by a friend to Shayna’s Village at The Roth Family Jewish Community Center. They loved it so much that the family regularly visits on Fridays for free play, music, and story time.
“My girls love Ms. Karen, and I’ve learned so much just by watching her interact with the kids there,” says Amie.
They also keep a family membership at RDV Sportsplex Athletic Club.
“The staff at RDV’s Kid’s Stuff are so good with the girls, and they do fun stuff that I just can’t bring myself to do at home by myself,” says Amie. “They get to experience water play, face painting, and arts and crafts. The added bonus for me is while they have a blast playing there, I can get a workout and a shower.”
The Farajis have long preferred to celebrate birthdays with experiences rather than gifts. In that tradition, they took the girls to Chef Mickey’s at Disney World for a character-filled breakfast to celebrate the quads’ second birthday.
“It was a great way for them to interact with the characters without it being rushed,” Amie says.
This year, the family will celebrate the big three by spending the day at the Dinosaur World theme park outside Plant City – the girls being big dinosaur fans.
From the beach to the pool, from amusement parks and playgrounds to leisurely neighborhood walks, Amie and Ryan enjoy time with their girls outside.
“There’s something about fresh air and being together that we all love,” says Amie.
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