Friday, August 18, 2017

Last Vacation Day! New Orleans!!

  Since Louis Dean stayed in bed all day on Wednesday, he was up early this morning! 
As in 7:00 AM! Fine! He packed, loaded and carried all of HIS stuff to the car while I slept on until a more reasonable hour - 10:00! It only took me an hour to pack up and then I was ready and we said our goodbyes to all the Bells and headed out for our last vacation day!

We stopped somewhere in Mississippi at a Logan's Roadhouse for a good hearty meal - which turned out to be our one and only meal of this day!

We made it out of Alabama, across the lower section of Mississippi and into Louisiana!

Only one state away from TEXAS!

Our Waze app took us right straight to our hotel in the French Quarter!
We pulled right up to the Prince Conti Hotel on Conti Street. The streets are narrow and there seems to be no place to park your vehicle but the valet was right there to help us unload and then whisk our car to a safe parking area secured inside the hotel area. Parking here is pricey but worth every $$!

The very first thing Louis Dean did when we got to our room was to take out his guitar and play a song! This time it was Farmer's Daughter. Then I took a picture of him ......

and he took a picture of me!
We are a Mutual Admiration Society!!

We rested for a little while and then decided we needed to get out and do the things we wanted to do before it got too dark. New Orleans is a happy place - a party place - but it also has a dark side.
Since neither one of us has any sense of direction, we decided we would walk in a box shape to get to and from where we wanted to go. We walked south on Conti Street......

The streets are narrow and there is a lot of construction work being done.
It will be great once it's all done.

I took random pictures all the way.......some are better than others.

We stayed on Conti Street all the way to the Mississippi River!

The police have a large presence here.
You do NOT want to get lost on foot in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Beautiful buildings......

Interesting places!
This was a sign outside a cigar store.

SO much history here!

My very favorite photo of our walk this evening!
An artist studio and I could relate to every picture.
His studio was closed but I lingered long at every window and took lots of photos.
This made me want to get home and set up the art table!
Tuesday! I can't wait! Be ready, Ruth Ann!!!!

We were just about to reach the Mississippi River when Louis Dean decided to show a little bit of leg! This is one of many reasons he is so much fun! I love being married to this guy!

We should have planned ahead and booked a dinner tour on this paddle ship.
Louis Dean promised we WILL do this - next time!

We walked straight down Conti Street to Decatur Street to Cafe Du Monde.
A MUST for my every visit here!

I bought coffee, a coffee mug and two bags of Beignets mix!
Hopefully I can duplicate this experience at home soon!

Louis Dean was savoring every bite!

There are THREE beignets in every order.
He got two. I ate one.

We walked up St. Ann Street .....

and Louis Dean had a good time with the street musicians!
Especially this one!!

Good times and good memories made!

Jackson Square was full of all sorts of activities.
Everything from fortune telling to walking group tours.

There is a special charm to New Orleans......and the French Quarter in particular.
As we walked the old brick sidewalks, we wondered about the history of the people who have walked there before us. This is a city with an old soul.

Louis Dean loved this place!
There is a bit of spookiness here.

We walked from St Ann to Bourbon Street.

We decided to walk down this rather boisterous street because he was better lighted.

It was fun and interesting but we opted to get to our calm, cool, quiet hotel room to enjoy a rather sedate evening with a glass of Pinot Grigio while we watched old NCI episodes on TV.

Vacations are wonderful and we have enjoyed every single day of ours.
Still, FUN can be EXHAUSTING!
We will sleep in, check out of our hotel and go home!
It is a 7 hour drive and that means it will probably take us an hour or two longer.
It usually does.
We are looking forward to being home every bit as much as we were looking forward to leaving!
It seems crazy but it's true!
Is that the same way it is for you?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Beach Day #2 Featuring Louis Dean Followed By Beach Day #3.....

I am so happy to tell y'all that Louis Dean had a great Beach Day!
Tuesday morning Amber fixed an old fashioned breakfast of eggs, biscuits and gravy to get us all off to a good start! We sat around the table in a big 10 member family group with our coffee and food and made plans for the day. Then just as everyone had slathered on sunscreen and put on swimsuits and packed bags of snacks, food, drinks, toys, and towels and headed to the beach - rain, thunder and lightning stopped us all in our tracks and we went on to Plan B..... TV, crafts, a trip to the Dollar General,  visiting and enjoying our time together. Soon enough, the weather cleared up and, once again, we all headed out!

Louis Dean not only went down with us - he stayed until the very end!

I think he was excited!
Blue skies, white sand and salt water.....what's not to like?

As he sat there gazing out on the scene, he said, "Now THAT'S a LOT of water!"

The next thing I knew, he was knee deep in it!

He started gathering up the large pieces of broken seashells and plans on making a wind chime out of them. He had such a good time that when we were ready to leave, the others went on and we sat a little bit longer because he wasn't ready to go.

We cleaned up and went out for a late dinner at The Hang Out!
The food was wonderful - we had the Shrimp Basket - and the service great.

However, I think all that sun, sand and surf tired him out!

As we left, there was a game he got interested in and he really did enjoy everything about that day.
We arrived back at the beach house, put the kids to bed and sat out on the balcony with our wine before bed. Mike and his dad were a little more adventurous! They went back to the beach with a bucket and a net and a flashlight to do some crabbing.

This was the first sand crab they caught and it was only a few yards from the beach house!

He is in the bottom of Trystan's red sand pail.

Louis Dean was looking at him and accidentally turned the bucket over.....
the crab gladly escaped!
The mighty duo of father and son returned to the beach and came back with a bucket full of crabs!

They did the catch and release and it was a lot of fun!

After a really late bedtime on Monday night (3:00 Tuesday morning!), we were in bed sound asleep before midnight on Tuesday.

I'm really glad Louis Dean had such a good day because he didn't have a good night OR a good Wednesday. He spent this entire day in bed. Perhaps it was the water here or the late night or the food or too much sun - or a combination thereof - at any rate he missed out on every bit of the action today!

Everyone else went on to the beach early this afternoon and I lingered here with Louis Dean making sure he was comfortable and had his medicine and a bagel with peanut butter and some watered down Gatorade. It was after 3:00 when I went on down to the beach. I savoured every minute as this was my last time to sit on the sand and feel the sun and watch the waves.

The highlight of the afternoon was when Mike caught a Blue Crab!
He was beautiful!
Another catch and release but it was a lot of fun!

The quads have had a great time! 
They have played hard and laughed and enjoyed every new experience. 
The parents have worked so very hard on behalf of both their children and their parents.....Louis Dean and me and Jim and Lynn. It has been a vacation to remember and treasure. Our very first time for us to all be together and I must say that we all get along so well. That's not surprising when you think of how we have totally embraced this Quad Journey together. It truly does take a village and we ARE that village!

The kids have been making shell necklaces from a set of napkin rings their Aunt Summer gave us.
The fishing line gave way and I thought the loose shells would work perfectly to string up since there are holes in each one.

This is Harrison's! He was a bit more persistent in his threading of the shells!

Dinner tonight is a FEAST!!!

Amber and Mike are in the kitchen cooking Parmesan Crusted Chicken, mashed potatoes and steamed green beans! It is smelling so GOOD in here!

My contribution is the garlic bread!

And the Jalapeno Roll Ups!

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Jalapeno Popper Rollups are a wildly popular spin on the classic! You can make them ahead of time. They are also just right for packing in lunches, tailgating, or as an on the go snack!
Recipe type: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24
  • 4 tortilla shells
  • 4-5 jalapenos
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1-2 c. grated cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, Colby jack)
  • 1 c. diced bacon
  1. My family can't handle spice very well so I've learned a trick for taking some of the heat out of the jalapenos. Remove seeds and membranes from jalapenos. I recommend wearing gloves to do this job! Bring a pan of water to a boil. Drop seeded jalapenos into the boiling water. Continue boiling for 3-5 minutes depending on how much heat you want jalapenos to have. I boil for the full 6 minutes. Drain and set aside until cool.
  2. Dice peppers.
  3. In a mixing bowl stir cream cheese until smooth. Add diced jalapenos, diced bacon, and grated cheese. Stir until combined
  4. Lay tortillas out. Divide cream cheese mixture into fourths and spoon onto tortilla shells. If you have too much cream cheese mixture you can always make another roll-up. If you don't feel like you have enough mixture you can always make less roll-ups. I usually end up with four though.
  5. Spread cream cheese mixture to edges of tortillas.
  6. Roll up jelly roll style.
  7. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
  8. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  9. Trim the ends off roll-ups cut roll-ups in slices. I usually get 6 slices not counting the ends.
  10. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Harrison pronounced them 'PRETTY GOOD!!!'

As I am writing this journal entry, Harrison - who is an avid reader at barely 5 years of age - asks me to put this message in here for his Aunt Summer:
"We are at the beach and we are going to catch crabs tonight! 
We have had lots of fun and we saw a school of flying fish while we were in the water!"

In news from home......
all is well with Mother and she is still loving her new home.
Lonnie and Lanita are having a good week!
Lonnie's son and his family had a beach vacation this week just like we did.
They did a great photo shoot on the beach with a complete group and then by sibling families and even one with the children!!


This is Lonnie's youngest son, Bryan, and his lovely wife, Ashley.

Sister Deanie and her granddaughter, Andie, are in San Antonio this week.
Andie starts school soon and this was their last trip of the summer together.
These two are so bonded together. Andie is as good for Deanie as Deanie is for Andie!

No matter where we all are - my siblings and I keep a Facebook messenger thread going all the time.
We like to keep up with each other.

Andie and Deanie!!

It is with a happy heart that I am 
signing out on this last post from Gulf Shores, Alabama!
It's been a GREAT trip!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Beach Day #1

Amber found this great beach house in Gulf Shores, Alabama with 4 bedrooms and 3 full baths, a large living area and a great kitchen!  Seating for 10 with the table for 6 + seating at the bar + a table with two chairs from the living room. Perfect for a Family Vacation which includes the quads, parents, and BOTH sets of grandparents!

The beach is a 2 minute walk across the street!

We stopped at Best Buy on our way down here to buy a camera for Louis Dean.
He has a really expensive  good one at home but he can NOT find it! He has a penchant for putting things in TUBS and we will probably find it - sooner or later! This pic of me in the dining area of the beach house was one of his first shots on his new camera.

Today - Monday - was the first of three Beach Days!

It was a PERFECT one here in Gulf Shores, Alabama!!

While Louis Dean did NOT spend the day on the beach as the rest of us did - he DID come down to check it out and take a few photos.
THIS is his version of 'beach wear!'
The same as he wears every day!
H eonly rolled the legs up!
He promises he will actually wear a swimsuit and get in the water tomorrow! We'll see!
I will document it for sure!

The water and the surf and the sun were awesome today and I loved every minute of it!

Okay! I KNOW I am short! Five feet and one half inch - down from the 5'2" I used to be!
But I had no idea how that looked next to a guy that was over 6 feet!
While I don't feel 'itty bitty' anymore.....I guess I am - in comparison to HIM!!!

It was a wonderful Beach Day!!
ALL of us are on the same laid back schedule.
Late to bed and late to rise.
Amber and Mike were in charge of breakfast - which was served up at noon.
Crisply fried bacon and Amber's homemade pancakes - both plain and with chocolate chips - along with orange juice, coffee and fruit was a meal to remember!
It was a wonderful to eat together while we planned out the rest of the day.

We ate a lunch type snack on the beach and the kids played and played and played.
I sat and thought and meditated and soaked up every ounce of the sun's energy today.
Thinking and being takes time. I had some of that time today. I came to terms with a few things and I made some plans. I am determining where I plan to spend my life's energy and what I want to accomplish in the next few years ahead. Change is the normal theme of life and life is always changing. For the last 6 years we have been totally invested in the Quad Experience. Louis Dean did an absolutely amazing job of restoring the camper and then taking it down to Katy where we lived in it for 7 months. We closed up our house in Irving and our life as we knew it and put all our energy into supporting Amber and Mike and the babies.....then unborn. The quads are now 5 years old and starting Kindergarten later this month. Times change and needs change.
While for over 5 years I have shared our journey with them - from the pregnancy through their births and Harrison's struggle to survive and Kailey's open heart surgery and all the milestones in between - I must now respect their privacy and, at the request of their parents,  I will no longer be sharing their journey in pictures. They are starting school soon and this is just the beginning of all the changes they will be facing in life.
Since I have shared all the sorrows as well as the joys of our journey - I do not want to be coy and only show shadows of their photos and I don't want to seem to be playing games with them.
This is what the parents feel is best and so we must respect those feelings.

This evening I was at Target in the Starbucks area there, waiting for Amber to finish her shopping when the storm clouds blew in and built up in a short amount of time. We managed to get back to the beach house before the storm hit.
While I may not be able to share the joys of photos and videos of our life with the quads - I will continue to share my heart and my life!

And tonight - after the quads and their parents were in bed, both sets of grandparents sat out on the beach house balcony together sipping wine and talking about our wonderful grand quads and their amazing parents.

I love you all and thank you for every prayer and all the love and support though this journey.