Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Christmas in July!

I ALWAYS do a 'Christmas in July' project!

 This year it is a pillow that I have wagged around with me since April! I finally started working on it in earnest this week while I am down here with the babies.

For over 30 years I taught an art class in my dining room every Tuesday night.
During the month of July we would listen to Christmas music, sip hot chocolate with peppermint stick stirrers and work on our Christmas painting.

Things have been a little different this year but I will still manage to finish this pillow by the end the week. I know! The project will be stretching into August! I can NOT believe today is July 31st!!

I have been down here in Houston watching babies grow!

And they ARE growing!

Right now they are the size of doll babies!
Can you tell who is the biggest?
Harrison, then Kailey, followed by Trystan and Logan taking turns at being the smallest. They won't stay little long so Amber takes every opportunity to put cute clothes on them.

We don't spend ALL of our time holding babies!
They are still feeding every three hours so Mom and Dad have to keep those bottles filled and waiting. Night feedings are still the biggest challenge but they won't last forever. I am going to start PRAYING for each one as I give that last bottle about midnight that they will sleep just a little longer between each night time feeding.

The number of diapers we go through in a day is staggering!

Every baby has his/her own chart where important information is logged in......
like the amount they drank and the contents of their diapers!
Have I mentioned how ORGANIZED Amber and Mike are?
You simply couldn't DO quadruplets without being organized!

Mike works for such an awesome corporation.
Each Monday and Thursday someone from his company shows up at the door with a full dinner! EVERY Monday and Thursday!!
And the meals are so GOOD!

We have had pot roast with all the veggies, brisket that melted in your mouth along with smoked sausage, potato salad, baked beans AND home made BREAD!!
Last night we had deliciously seasoned pork loin with fresh broccoli, roasted asparagus and rice WITH crescent dinner rolls and chocolate chip cookies.
I am telling you......these coworkers are AWESOME!!

While I have been away Louis Dean has continued work on the RV back home.
We should be moving it down her by the middle of August.

Every night - between feedings - I sit out in the front yard here while Louis Dean sits on the driveway 260 miles away at home and we have our evening glass of wine together.
It's not the same but it will have to do for now.
Our 'Camper Plans' are coming along and soon we will be together again and I can't wait. It is silly how much I miss that husband of mine! What makes it even nicer is that he misses ME, too!!

The last day of July! I just can't believe how time is FLYING by!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A House FULL of BELLS!!

Yesterday the last Baby Bell came home!
Trystan Lee!
Everyone joined in our celebration.......

..........from the NICU and my favorite nurse, Jane, who taught us all so much about caring for preemies - from feeding to burping to holding - the whole thing! I stayed extra days on my last trip down here just to learn from her.

Jane was there the day the quads were born and has been a primary caretaker through their entire stay in the NICU! She began educating Amber and Mike on preemie care from Day 1! Thanks to her and several other excellent nurses they are now an awesome parental team moving with confidence as they care for the babies. It was fitting that Jane was the nurse to discharge the last Baby Bell!
(Don't tell anyone but I think Trystan was her favorite!)
THANK YOU, nurses!!!

The celebration continued as we went down to the 5th floor where Amber  had stayed for 57 days. We grew very fond of so many of the excellent nurses on the 5th floor.
This is Amby. She admitted Amber back on April 9th and discharged her on June 5th.

We couldn't leave before finding Lisa - another favorite nurse!
Can you tell I love the nurses that did so much to ensure Amber was taken care of?
And I love those special nurses who loved on and cared for the precious babies.
The doctors were excellent I'm sure.
But the NURSES were ANGELS we will never forget and hope they will continue to be a part of our lives through visits and Facebook and blogs!

While on the 5th floor I just had to revisit Room #552

It was an emotional visit.
I remember coming in the mornings and leaving after traffic in the evenings.

I set up my laptop back there by that lamp.
Some days I just sat quietly and others I stayed pretty busy helping care for Amber.
She had a magnesium sulphate IV for most of those 57 days.
You would think looking back on this room would be painful.
Especially since Amber had developed preclampsia in the last weeks of the pregnancy.
Most of the days she was pretty miserable. Many days it was nearly unbearable.
I tried not to think about the possibility of losing her.
I believe the reason it's not painful is because of the wonderful care and attention of the nurses and staff. They are paid to treat their patients. The fact that they CARE so deeply about them is what makes nursing a true ministry or calling.

And as I sat over there at my laptop I was encourage by all the comments of my friends in the World of Blog and Facebook Land about the prayers for my daughter and her unborn babies. Those prayers made all the difference in the world!

I remember sitting by this window chatting to Amber one day.
Through her hospitalization I had been coming down every other week.
On May 15th we came down to STAY until the babies were born.
May 19th marked her 28 weeks. On May 21st it looked like she would make it another week perhaps. I will never forget her looking over at me and asking, " Are you really going to stay here? Coming up here everyday and bringing me things and being with me til the babies are born?" I said, "Absolutely!"
And I did! I stayed until she got out of the hospital and I knew she and the babies were OK.  I didn't leave until June 7th - the day after her birthday.

Now that she is a mother herself - with THREE daughters! - I am sure she understands.

Little Miss Trystan all ready for the ride home.

A FIRST family picture!!
I snapped it as they were getting ready and I just LOVE the expressions on their faces.
Such joy and pride as Amber and Mike look down at their babies.
Harrison, Kailey, Trystan and Logan.

And here I am holding all FOUR of the quads at the same time!
I just LOVE this!!!

Now I will close with a 'Reality Shot!'
It is not ALL fun and games around here!
 I am writing this post now because I need to stay awake.
The next feeding is in just a few minutes.

All these bottles are for just ONE day!!
That's 32 feedings.........one every three hours.
We have our work cut out for us!

You can read Amber's latest post here!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Last Few Days......

have been the beginning of a new stage in being a Grandma to quadruplets!

Since arriving late Sunday afternoon:

We have given 84 bottle feedings!
(this includes a couple of 'cluster' feedings.)

We have used approximately 93-100 diapers - since Sunday at 6:00 pm!

Amber and Mike were pretty sleep deprived when I got here but Amber has a schedule where no one is getting up for EVERY night feeding and we all seem to be doing fine. The one who is the MOST tired obviously needs MORE sleep!
Amber is a master at structured schedules that are still flexible.

We left Monday at 1:00 for eye appointments for the three babies, arriving in time to change, feed and burp them before the doctor saw them. Then we visited Trystan in the NICU where we took turns staying with the babies in a Ronald McDonald House room - which was a life saver! That kept the babies from being in waiting rooms and exposed to more germs than their little bodies can handle! We were able to again feed and change the babies before leaving the hospital arriving home at 8:00 PM.
A long day for babies, parents AND Grandma!

The next day we left the house at 11:00 am for doctor appointments and returned at 3:00 pm! Any outing is a major event when you have so many but it went smooth as silk thanks to Amber and Mike's forethought and planning. The babies did NOT get worn out and arrived home in good spirits both days. Even though they had to get shots! Made ME want to cry! The girls were pretty vocal but they were easily comforted - AFTER it was all over. And they were a bit fussy later in the evening.
Not so with Harrison! He was a big boy and only cried when he got the shots - they each got THREE!!! Brave Harrison has been through so much when he was fighting for his life with all the IV's, shots, procedures, transfusions and such that these simple vaccinations didn't even faze him! He went right back to sleep!

You can read all about the homecoming and days after in Amber's latest blog post

Today was an easier day! NO appointments!
I wanted to bake a Chocolate Sheet Cake to take with us when we go to pick up Trystan. I didn't have the handwritten recipe I copied down in a gray spiral notebook way back in the 1970's that I usually use. I LOVE the Internet and was able to find the exact same one online!

I found it here! 

So off to the local HEB grocery store for the needed ingredients!

It turned out GREAT!
I cut it in squares and packaged it up for the NICU nurses and some for the parents who visit the Ronald McDonald House. Some of these folk have been there a very long time waiting for their babies to get better. It squeezes my heart to see their suffering.

While I was out I was treated to Starbucks by my daughter Summer - via a gift card!
I can just feel myself relaxing as soon as I walk in the door of a Starbucks!
A PERFECT spot to sit with a glass of tea and read a few chapters of a good book on a hot July afternoon in Texas! The A/C was cranked up and I nearly forgot it was over 100 degrees outside! That's with the 'heat index.' It was ONLY in the 90's but the humidity made it FEEL like 105!

I hit up a Goodwill - since I COULD!

I may finish my current book before I go home so I thought I best get another one - or two!

I can't see squat anymore so I scarfed up with these reading glasses for $4.00 a pair.
I threw in a couple pair of sunglasses as well.
AND - since it was Senior Citizen Day - I got an EXTRA discount on everything!

I wasn't gone all that long but as soon as I came in I had to take a peek at the babies!
Kailey and Harrison look so much alike!
I can't wait til Trystan gets home because she and Logan favor each other a LOT!
So much so that I am happy Trystan has a birthmark and I can tell them apart by that if I get confused!

Louis Dean and I usually have a glass of wine together in the evening.
Tonight was no exception - even though he and I are about 250 miles apart.
He poured his and I poured mine and then we sat and visited with each other catching up on our day - by phone.

I'll close this post tonight with a little secret.
Guess who went to 'Lovely Nails' this afternoon for a pedicure AND manicure?
Guess who the ladies there fuss over and all of them want to visit?
And guess who I am missing tonight as I close out the day?
I will be so happy when we get our camper ready to come down.
It should be SOON!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm Handsome and I KNOW it!! Uh HUH!!

Harrison - oh, MY!  How he has grown!
I have been going through my pictures and loading some of them up on Snapfish.
The quads will be 2 months old on Thursday. CAN you BELIEVE it??
I am glad I took so many pictures because I would never remember how small they were and how far they have come in such a short time.

They STILL shouldn't even BE here yet!!
Amber's 'due date' - IF it had been possible to carry quadruplets for 40 weeks - which it ISN'T! - is still 2 weeks away.

This little fellow went through a lot.
We nearly lost him on June 10th.
We praise God and thank every one who prayed for him - for ALL the quads!

Now just look at him!
And I do! Every chance I get!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pee, Poop, Feed, Burp, Sleep. Repeat Every Three Hours AROUND THE CLOCK!

That's the schedule of newborns. It gets REALLY interesting when you have several. All the same age! The quads are now nearly 38 weeks gestational age - so, yeah, they are still on newborn time.

I drove down to Houston yesterday afternoon to help Amber and Mike leaving Louis Dean at home to work on the camper. We are hoping to bring it down here sometime in early August.

While a newborn schedule can be tiring, they are just so darn cute you can't wait to pick them up when they need feeding, changing, diapering or simply look adorable.

This is Kailey Lee and I have never seen her look anything but precious!

All of them are as good as gold.
They only cry if they need something.

Things have changed around here since the babies arrived.
I called Louis Dean last night and told him it looked like a Babies R Us store exploded in Amber and Mike's den - but WITH babies!!

Today I visited Trystan - the only one of the quads still in the NICU.
She is doing well and will be home soon.

Oops, it's almost time for the next feeding!
Gotta GO!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Creating a Cozy, Comfy CAMPER is HARD WORK!

We have been working hard on this camper restoration project.
There were times when I looked at the whole thing and thought it was simply impossible to make this into a clean live-able place. Louis Dean has been amazing - as always! I have said it before and will say it again - there is nothing this man cannot fix!
Had Amber not had quadruplets and had she and Mike not lived in the Houston area, well, we would never have had the motivation to tackle the job of turning a neglected and damaged trailer into what will become our 'Home Away from Home!'

But she DID, they DO, and we ARE!

We still have a LONG way to go but not nearly as far as we DID!
We have accomplished a lot. LD has repaired the damaged floor and I have cleaned and scrubbed and decorated around a great deal of debris.

At least now we have ONE side of the camper where we can sit in comfort.

We are enjoying the challenge of decorating and outfitting (as much as we can!) with things we already have. I have made dozens of denim quilts in my time so it was just natural to use recycled denim for the cushions and curtains.
MY side of the table is where the LOVE pillow is.
That's my decorated hammer hanging on the jean curtain.
At least I will always know where to find it!

I've added more wallpaper border and framed posters.

I am using the same principle in decorating the camper as I have done for my house -
MORE is always BETTER!!!
Every wall must have something on it!

The theme of coffee, chickens, rustic country things and whimsical touches pretty much evolved on its own.

As you can see - we still have many things to do!
Drawers and doors and floors - not to mention the BATHROOM!!

One of the bunks is done up in frills and lace for a GIRL guest!
(Like my grand daughter, Faith!)

I used leftover wallpaper from years ago!
I was surprised the pre pasted paper would STICK - it was THAT old!!

It made me happy to pull this lacy comforter out of my linen closet!
It is about 25 years old and as the lace would tear I repaired it with vintage bits and pieces as well as some doilies and ribbon roses. It became a real labor of love and holds lots of memories for me. I have changed styles and bedding over time. We now have a queen size bed and this is a full size comforter. It will work for this bunk just fine though!

I mean to paper the top bunk in a blue print and make it more appropriate for a BOY guest! This will be a project for later.

Our main goal now is to get the vinyl flooring down.
Louis Dean is covering the wood with roofing felt and will put the vinyl on top of that.

He's using a section he salvaged from an old house he was working on some years ago. This is a LOW COST restoration!
We plan to cover the vinyl with rugs to cozy it all up!

I have been discouraged at times but then I remember all the things we have done.
Things that looked impossible.
Like last year's bedroom redo.
And my bathroom the year before that.
If I can 'picture' it done - I'm there!

Right now I am 'picturing' us all comfy and cozy in our cute little camper.
The coffee is brewing and I am getting my journal out to write.
The air conditioner is humming, the cat is purring and the dog is still asleep.
I'm looking around at all the prettiness of the camper and remembering when we started and what a mess it was in.

We're getting there! Step by step!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friday Family FUN!!!

I left home at 9:00 Friday morning and didn't return until 8:00 in the evening. I had such a good day visiting my 'Fort Worth Family.'

I started the day at my sister's house. She had three of her grandchildren over - plus her daughter-in-law- and her daughter - as well as Deanie's husband.
(I should do a post of Deanie and Charlie's SUPER interesting home someday.)

It was so nice to see family and our visits are NEVER long enough!

I left there to pick up Mother at the beauty shop.

I printed out four pics of the quads to show around and everyone loved getting to see them!! I left all four of the ones I printed just this morning with Mother. She did NOT want to give them back to me! I MUST sit down and order some prints! And SOON!
Louis Dean had a doctor appointment as well as a trip to the pharmacy and they ALL wanted to see pics. He had them! Today was a 'Show and Tell' times FOUR!!
(we printed FOUR different pics! guess we will be doing lots of things in FOURS!)

Mother and I had a good lunch at Chipolte Grill......and Mother loved being able to park right in front of the restaurant - thanks to her handicapped parking hanger!
(She really does need this.....she is not as steady on her feet as she was and we have to hold her hand when she walks.)

We then hit up a few stores.

Mother loves to 'shop' even when she doesn't buy anything!
She - wisely - decided AGAINST these shoes!!!

Next up? The new Trader Joe's on Hulen!!

Mother is ALWAYS in charge of pushing the cart!

These were MY purchases - not hers!
I am looking forward to trying these wines.
They were just $2.99 each!
The Guinness is for LD.
He has fond memories of drinking this in Aberdeen, Scotland when we visited Amber and Mike the year they lived there. He may save it for cooler weather.

After I left Mother I headed over to visit my grandchildren.
Or THREE of my EIGHT grandchildren.
The number of my GK's DOUBLED when Amber recently gave birth to quadruplets!

This is Levi and he is an amazing little boy!
He is Jesse and Leigh Ann's youngest.

Sam is the oldest and has learned to play SIX chords on the guitar!
His granddad is SO happy to hear this!!

I have to brag on my SON as well as my grandson.
Jesse (son) is a gifted photographer and he took this picture.
I love it when my kids post on Facebook!!
I want to print and frame it!!

My granddaughter, Faith.
We all enjoyed a trip to YoBerry!

My beautiful daughter in law and Faith.

It was a GOOD time!
I neglected to take a pic of my son later when we got back to the house.
My bad!

The kids and I spent some time on the back patio playing checkers.
Faith usually takes all the pictures when we get together but Levi was the photographer this time around. He is so savvy with computers and cameras - and he's only FIVE!!

He figured out - without my telling him - how to turn the camera on, snap a pic, preview it and then return to the main menu.

He took his own picture and said, "Look at the screen, Mimi! Am I blurry?"
Levi also has the advanced vocabulary his dad had when HE was that age!

I LOVE this pic that was going around Facebook this past week!!
This could SO be Levi!!

A summer storm blew in while I was still at my son's so it was a good excuse to wait it out and spend more time with the grand kids.

We hope to get the camper ready by the end of the month and I would LOVE to have Sam, Faith and Levi over to have a 'Camping in the Drive Way' experience.
Today we are going to work on the flooring. Louis Dean is already out there.
We are getting CLOSER!!
That's a good thing, too, since 3 of the 4 quads are home.

Only Trystan remains in the NICU.

Oops, I think Louis Dean needs me out in the camper!
We are going to have a BUSY work day!!