Traverse City Record-Eagle

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June 16, 2013

'Family is our whole life': Raising quadruplets plus two

TRAVERSE CITY — Since her quadruplets grew out of diapers, life smoothed out for Tonya Lewandowski.

"I did cloth diapers, so to say life got easier is such an understatement," Lewandowski said. "I love babies, I love my children, but I do not love diapers."

Eastfield Laundry washed the diapers at a "very affordable price" the first year. Countless other people donated time and energy to watch Lewandowski's two older sons while she nursed the quadruplets.

"My mom quit her job in St. Clair and moved in with us for two and a half years. She said, 'You're going to need help and I want to be the one,'" she said.

The lives of Tonya and Jeremy Lewandowski of Traverse City shifted into high gear four years ago when their quadruplets were born at Munson Medical Center.

The diapers are gone, but it's still no small feat to feed, bathe and clothe the quadruplets: Summer, Brock, Cameron, and Dane, along with older brothers, Caleb, 7, and Aiden, 9. Each day, the kids chew through two boxes of cereal for breakfast and a loaf of bread at lunch. They gulp a daily gallon of milk.

"People talk about their mortgage," said Tonya Lewandowski. "I say mortgage, shmortgage. We spend about $2,000 a month on food."

Clean clothes also are a major chore, involving three loads a day with all kids on deck for folding.

Tonya, 36, and Jeremy, 38, met as college lab partners at Michigan Tech, where they earned engineering degrees. They had two young sons when Tonya underwent ovulation stimulation with hopes for twins. When an ultrasound showed quadruplets, Jeremy was ice fishing in the Upper Peninsula.

"I waited until he got home to tell him," she said. "He went mute for a couple of days, and then realized God chose us for the journey."

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