Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Proud Quad Grandma and Grandpa!

The quads were just two days old the last time Louis Dean saw them in the NICU at the hospital. He returned home at that point to begin the camper restoration project while I stayed on for several more days and then made frequent trips back down for a week or two at a time. I have seen the quads at nearly every phase of their development while Louis Dean had not. Sure, he had seen PICTURES and even videos but seeing them in person is so much better!

He held Harrison first and this is my very favorite picture of them together!
I just LOVE it!!

LD even has the burping process down pat!
Look at how BIG his hands are under that sweet little face!

Baby toes curled up on Granddad's belly!
Louis Dean has a perfect ledge for the babies to rest on!

Here he is holding Kailey and he totally agrees she is a 'Little AMBER!'

LOOK!!! He can even multi - task!

Who SAID he couldn't do more than one thing at a time?
He even has a free right foot in case he needs to rock that 4th baby!

FOUR babies!!!

Logan Lee - now 8 lb 12 oz

Trystan Lee - now 7lb 11 oz

Kailey Lee - 8 lb 12 oz

Harrison Lee - 9 lb 2 oz

We are having a blast with these babies!
We were pretty tired the first day or two after our arrival but have recovered and are almost back to normal now. We spent the night in our camper last night and we will be there again this evening. Amber hired a Night Nanny and she will come a few nights a week which is a big help!

Okay!!! I give up!!! I tried so hard to load a cute video of the quads during their Mat Time/Tummy Time! It 'loaded' for over an hour and then - NOTHING!
I tried AGAIN - and then - after ANOTHER hour - it informed me there had been an error. NOW I can't even get the dumb pic of it trying to load off!!
Moving on now.........hours later.........

All the babies are doing so well!!!
Here's Amber's latest Facebook update:

"Therapists from ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) came out yesterday and today to evaluate the quads to see if any of them were "behind" developmentally—such as motor skills, muscle tone, sensory issues, etc.—and all the babies measured right on par or ahead! They were so impressed and I'm so grateful for our healthy crew!"

We have so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A 'Moving' Story!

We DID it!!! We finished the camper and pulled her down here to Katy!

We could NOT have left Sunday morning if Summer had not devoted her weekend to helping us get off.

She arrived Saturday morning and worked HARD all day!

All three of us worked HARD!!
So much to do. The camper had not been moved in 6 years!

Although we started the process Saturday morning it was Saturday afternoon before LD pulled her out!

Once we had it parked in front of the house I knew we were good to go!!

But then we had to clean up the leaves and debris.
Summer cleaned the stone wall with bleach water and cleaned up the mess leaving it all neat and tidy. We will need to landscape this area next year.
When Louis Dean first came on the scene there was a huge crape myrtle tree here and a row of full grown and beautiful bushes - I cannot remember the name of them now but they were thriving!! It all looked very pretty. Then LD cut down 'that messy tree!' so he could back the camper in. Back then I was working at a State Farm office and he called me one day and asked if her could trim back the bushes. I foolishly said 'Yes!'
Do you know what he DID???  He took a CHAIN SAW to them!!! Level to the GROUND!! Good thing we were newly weds. I still didn't learn my lesson though.
That same summer I asked him to weed eat around the stone planter in the front yard.
Guess how he did THAT?? With Round Up! I had STRAW outlining the yard the rest of the season! Now I try to clarify what permissions I'm giving him and chain saws are NOT landscaping nor lawn equipment tools!!

Not only did we have to get the camper ready and all systems go on that project - we had to leave our property in order. The West Nile virus has been especially bad in Texas this year so we cleaned all our ponds in the back yard and made sure they were pumping well. Then I cleaned the house and we finished packing the truck.
By this time we were so tired we couldn't think straight!

Summer had 2 tickets to the Dallas Cowboys pre season game.......

 so she and I cleaned up and headed to Cowboy Stadium.
We didn't last through the whole game but it was nice to take a break and STOP working! By the time we got home Summer could tell we still needed help to get out of town so she spent the night in order to help us Sunday morning.

And away we went!
I followed him the whole way - 265 miles - with him driving AT LEAST 20 miles UNDER the speed limit!
He was hauling a pretty good load!
I could tell at the rate we were going we would be lucky to arrive before dark!
I called ahead and the RV Resort office closes at 4:00 but he said he would leave a packet for us taped to the check in window with the gate code and other info we would need.
Good thing I did! We were a long ways from 4:00 by the time we got there!!
(It actually took us 9 hours!)

That big old truck pulled it with NO problem!
We stopped at Buc-ee's in Madisonville for a leg stretch and grabbed a sandwich.
There is no place to sit inside so after he walked Lucy we just ate in the air conditioned car. It was a hot day in Texas! NOT the killer 100 degree temps of last year but still hot! AND Louis Dean had NO A/C in his truck! It picked a fine week to die!

He drove the whole 265 miles with his windows down so he wouldn't suffocate!
This really did a number on his asthma. He hasn't got over that part yet!
He couldn't hear me on his cell phone unless he rolled his windows up.
Let's just say he was my super hero driving under conditions like that!
The couple of rain showers we drove through were a real blessing to him giving him a few moments of fresh air.

He only stopped twice.
I stopped three times - once at a Texas Safety Rest Area and then drove 75 miles an hour - which is the speed limit - to catch up to him.

He downed 3 bottles of water as we made a mini camp behind a Cracker Barrel.

Lucy enjoyed the break! She rode shot gun with LD in the hot truck!
Maggie rode in comfort in the A/C car tucked under my seat.

After we rested we were ready to tackle the hardest part of the trip......going through Houston on I45 to 610 to I10. This portion is fraught with all sorts of possible dangers!
To add to our worries LD's fuel gage was flirting with EMPTY and he forgot he was going to stay on the service road after leaving the Cracker Barrel to get diesel and pulled right back up on the Interstate!

I got in front to guide him through this complicated route and signaled at the 610 ramp. Then to my utter shame I panicked thinking I was going the wrong way and veered off. Louis Dean - in the truck with the camper behind - was not as agile and entered the freeway waving at me on the service road through his open window! I tried to call him on the cell but the phone had fallen to the floor! That's when I pulled into a Taco Cabana parking lot and broke down crying!
I still couldn't reach him by phone so I drove onto the Interstate in search of a big white Dodge Ram Truck with a Wilderness RV behind it! This was not an easy part of the freeway as it is under a lot of construction and there were lots of barriers along the way. By this time - unbeknown est to me - LD had pulled off so he could retrieve his phone. Now I am on the freeway and he is on a service road! But when I ask him which exit he took - HE freaks out and says he is at a dead end - LITERALLY!!! Then he hangs up!

I travel on a bit and discover I10 West is just ahead - so we are - or at least WERE on the right road! SO! I get OFF and circle back to see if I can find him. I end up in a very shady part of town with lots of shady characters around. So I start crying again.
After a few minutes I get BACK on the freeway and Louis Dean calls me. He is still nearly out of fuel but he is back on the highway. I tell him I was in a shady area and he says he was there also.....and those 'shady' characters helped him get out of that dead end with harming the truck or trailer or any BODY! They also gave him good directions to get back in 610. He only had a $10.00 bill on him but he told the guy he wanted to buy his dinner. The fellow was real nice and said, "I just wanted to help!" Just goes to show you the ones who scared me were the very ones God used to help Louis Dean!

By this time I had driven back up to the I10 West intersection and was circling back - AGAIN - when lo, and BEHOLD, as we were talking on the phone we PASSED each going east and he going west! So, for the LAST time I exit and made a u turn and follow after him as fast as I can! Guess where I caught up with him? At the very exit we take to get to the campground!

We pull up to the RV park - the truck is now running on fumes - and I get the packet and am trying to use the keypad so we can get through - and Lucy jumps out of the truck! Her collar comes off and we are trying to corral her - and I have already spent about 15 minutes trying that code thingy - when the camp hosts pull up in their little electric cart and offer to help us. The keypad worked like a charm. I guess I was just all a bundle of nerves by that time!

We reach our campsite and Louis Dean starts to angle in......
by this time he is a total wreck!

The fellow in the campsite next to us could see we were basket cases and had blocked other campers trying to get past us to go on to THEIR spaces!
He took off and brought back a young man who has a 40' trailer and he had our camper parked just as perfectly as possible in no time!
Talk about God providing 'Angels' along our way!

We were IN!!! The fellow even helped LD with unhitching and everything!
Wonderful! The guy next to us - the one who had gone for help - said this was our lucky day for arriving since he had some mean BBQ nearly ready to eat!
It had been a long time since we had those sandwiches at lunch so our mouths were watering. I called Amber to tell her we were here and would come over to help with the next feed. We were in no shape to stay up with the night feedings that first night after all we'd been through to get down here! The next feed was in 10 minutes so we had to tell the BBQ man we couldn't wait for a plate! We had quads to see! He gave us a rain check and I am hoping he BBQ's again soon!

We drove over and helped with the babies. LD was impressed with how much they had grown. They were just days old the last time he had seen them!We looked so ragged and were so tired I didn't even bother taking pictures!

We left Amber and Mike after the babies were in bed and told them I'd be back the next day and we went off in search of food. Too tired to shop and too exhausted to think straight we ended up eating some leftovers I had put in the ice chest from when LD and Mother had gone out to eat on Friday! Hey, it was food! We washed it down with a glass - OKAY! - two glasses of wine, hauled the stuff off our bed and crawled in!
We slept like BABIES!!!

The next post I will show how sweet Louis Dean is with the quads......
but for now - this is my moving story!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Day in 'Quadville!'

So I CAN hold 'em two at a time!!
This is Grandma's 'Throne'.......even though my feet don't touch the floor and I have to keep myself propped in with one knee!

This pic is from earlier today when Amber was getting ready to go out on an afternoon date with Mike. As all mothers - we don't like hearing our babies cry when we are just about to leave them so when Trystan and Logan were both getting after it I decided to pick up the one crying the LOUDEST! Then I thought, "Why not BOTH?"
One of their little crib sling beds was right in front of me in case I needed to get up quickly. It worked! Amber could dress and even put on make up and do her hair in peace!

 Family friend, Carol, arrived to help and A&M were off to the movies!
They had a good time and I totally enjoyed visiting with my friend.

We fed, burped, changed diapers, did Tummy Time (even though when she and I had babies we put them on their tummy and never thought about it!) , folded baby clothes, washed bottles and then repeated the first three!

Amber and Mike had a great afternoon - and so did Carol and I - AND the quads!

I meant to feature Logan today but Trystan was the picture I ended up with!
This is her 'Plank Pose!'
She is in her little sling crib is almost like a hammock and is to help with reflux. She was right in front of me and I looked over and there she was - stiff as a board and practically standing UP in it!!
(There is a REASON to buckle them in! I know......I know!!!)
Normally her head is down there about where that second brown polka dot is!

The quads have been given such sweet clothes and accessories!
What are baby accessories, you ask??

Matching burp cloths!
The quads have grown out of ALL the preemie sizes.
Even though it SAYS Preemie - the sizes vary a good bit!
They are just about to grow out of the newborn size and a couple of them are wearing 0-3 months!

I remember how tiny they were and when 0-3 month size looked HUGE to me!!

Since Trystan was the gatekeeper and down at the bottom of the bunch, we didn't get very many 'pictures' of her in the sonograms.

But this was one of my favorites!!

And here she is now!

We call her our Little Owl because her eyes are usually wide open and she watches everything!

Well, that's it for today! I have to go home tomorrow to help Louis Dean.
We will be bringing our camper down Sunday.
I can't WAIT to see his face when HE sees these little ones for the first time since  they were born! He's seen pictures, of course, but they are so much cuter and sweeter and cuddlier in real life! I will be taking lots of pics of LD and the first time he holds FOUR precious bundles of joy! His hands and arms are large enough - I bet he can hold all four of them at the same time!!!

Check out Amber's video update HERE!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Good Day!!

This is my Little Amber - aka Kailey Lee!
It feels like I have gone back in time when I look down at that sweet face!
Kailey likes to be held and she is a snuggler!

She invariably inches over and gets as close to whichever sibling she is sharing space with - most often it is Harrison.

I enjoy watching these babies interact with each other.
Today I was holding Harrison in my lap and he was going to town on his pacifier. Logan gave a little cry and he immediately stopped sucking that pacifier and hies eyes widened. For a few seconds he waited and when she didn't make another sound he relaxed and started sucking again. Then she cried and he did the same thing - and when she KEPT crying then HE began to fuss! I assured him she was okay and he settled back down. They all seem to be very aware of each other and their surroundings.

Last night we had bath time - quite the production when you do four in a row!
This usually works better when you have three people to man the stations.
Amber bathed each baby at the kitchen sink and Mike poured the warm water over them to rinse. He sets the scale and they weigh each one after the bath at which time I dry and dress them. I even blow dry their hair (on low warm setting) and Kailey loved it!! I used the Lady Bug brush and I do believe they all enjoyed 'having their hair done!'
My mother would be so proud!!
The babies are consistently gaining about an ounce a day.

My good news for the day?
Louis Dean got the slide OUT room IN!!!
I am so relieved!
I'll go home this weekend to help him and together we will pull the RV down here.
I will follow him in the car.

Our days have settled down to a good routine.
Everything centers around the feedings.
That being said - if we are creative and determined - you can carve out a little time to do something for yourself.

I went for a nice walk Monday and Tuesday evenings.
The weather has been unseasonably mild for August in Texas!

Amber had not left the house since I arrived on Sunday. It is easy to go into a 'zone' when you stay in 'Quadville' for long periods of time.
This morning after the 7:30 feeding she went back to bed and was able to nap til 11:30 when it was time to start feeding again.
Then as soon as Mike got home from work (he is not working full time right now so he gets home in early afternoon) she went to a salon near by to have her nails done. Then she even managed to do a little shopping before getting back in time to feed the 4th baby in that feeding! Let's just say Amber uses her time very wisely and I am amazed at how much she gets done. AND she is still doing her editorial work (part time) in between everything else she does.

I have an hour until the next feeding and I must run change out my laundry.
I ran out this evening for a bit and scarfed up some good buys at Goodwill!

It has been a good day around here!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Grandma's BACK!!!

I am back in Quadville and playing with all my grand dolls!
This would be HarriSON in blue camo! Notice the cushy A&M football pillow I bought last week to rest my arm on.

He has SO many expressions!!!

And POSES!!!!
"Now let me SEE!"

He IS a cutie!
I always offer a prayer of thanksgiving when I hold him!
The baby we almost lost on June 10th and now so strong and healthy!

This is his CEO pose!

Louis Dean is anxious to get down here and see these babies!
He has not seen them since birth!
We talked several times today on the phone and he told me it rained all day so he wasn't able to work on that camper slide out - to get it to slide IN!!
The camper sits on the driveway but the extended room is over pure slick MUD when it rains! He must go in and out of the camper pushing that little switch as he maneuvers
the things that be on the OUTside - and I would rather he not do that in slick, slippery, messy mud! I left that camper squeaky clean, you know! And I don't want him wallowing in OR falling due to muddy conditions. So I continue to pray he figures out how to get it fixed!

This afternoon the quads put their heads together for Tummy Time!
Hey, Sister Luann! If you are reading this they are enjoying the mats!!
Amber now has enough she can switch them out and they will stay entertained as the babies develop! Watching them is fascinating!!
They are over 2 1/2 MONTHS old although their actual DUE DATE - if they were singletons - was just 10 DAYS ago!!
They are all four bright and alert and more fun than a barrel of monkeys!

Amber is very organized with all the baby paraphernalia.
Someday she will have cookie jars full of treats, crackers and sweets.
But for now it is PACIFIERS!
Now if Grandma could just REMEMBER instead of having to check back every time!

Same with these!

This sign on the fridge comes in VERY handy!!

This is just the last 12 hours of feeds........

then they look like THIS!!

While so much around here is SO very different than it was this time a year ago -
some things are comfortingly familiar.
As in the fact that as I was sitting in here at the computer Amber came in to tell me there is a platter of cheese, crackers and fruit on the bar to nibble on as she is preparing dinner. And that dinner is smelling DELICIOUS!!!
Now if I had just remembered to bring a bottle of white wine with me......