Sunday, April 29, 2012

Keeping Grand kids BUSY and HAPPY!

Yesterday Louis Dean and I worked from 11 am - 3 pm in the front yard! Weeding, edging, trimming, mulching.....there is always SO much to do when the grass starts growing. Our Asian Jasmine nearly takes over EVERYTHING if I don't keep a watchful eye out!

Just about the time I was giving out - the grand kids arrived!!

We wound up the front yard and bolted all the gates and settled down in the gazebo for nice visit.

Sam, my oldest. He is nearly 10 years old!

Levi, the youngest, is THE hardest worker! And STRONG!!!

Faith is a girly girl.......after my own heart!

She loves a good game of checkers.....
however, Sam beat her by three this time!

Levi was content to watch!

After a lunch of hot dogs, chili, chips and jello - complete with a topping of tiny marshmallows - we started an art project.

Louis Dean had primed the wall with some left over PINK paint.
The kids got right  to work covering it with the nice 'fudge bar' color we are using on the house and storage buildings.

They did a bang up job!!!

They insisted they could paint the other side as well......and so they did!
That little Faith loved painting from the ladder!

Levi loves MUD! He played for over an hour in the mud pit he created.
While not CLEAN fun - it WAS fun!!
A little dirt never hurt anybody!

All too soon it was time for baths and roasting marshmallow!
We thought the fire wasn't going to start because......

.....Levi had been 'cleaning up' over there!!

No worries!
We got it started just fine!
The kids took their baths while the fire burned down enough to use their wires.

We closed down the night out on the front yard.
The kids have a game they play........they lay facing west looking at the four way stop sign. They watch to see if the cars actually STOP at the stop sign.

13 out of 15 cars DID NOT! (Most don't!)

This morning we had fresh banana muffins by popular request - it's Sam's favorite!

Muffins, milk, and 'fluffy salad' made a perfect breakfast!

Not the best pic to show right after food.....
but the kids were so excited to find this small squirrel skull.
Faith is taking it to school for show and tell.

Then it was back to the art project. They each drew in their design.


Art by Sam, Faith and Levi!
Signed and dated!

OOPS!!! Faith remembered to sign hers!! A true artist!

We had the best 24 hour MiMi Camp EVER!!
The kids were as good as gold and it did our hearts good to simply look at them and love them and spend some time together.

Every single child is so very different. and so very special .

It was nice to at long last use my spring table setting.
Everyone shared their 'high and low' of the day.
The highs were ALL either spending the night here with MiMi and Granddad or
'Having the kids here!' Not many lows in the group today.

The kids are back home. I came back and took a long nap.
Now I am gearing up for next week!
It just seems like there is SO much going on in my life right now.
Even as life goes on for ends for others.
I recently received word of a friend going on to be with the Lord after a long battle.

Life is Fragile......Handle with Prayer!

There has been a lot of activity in the quad world lately.
The mom of sextuplets recently delivered and you can read her story Here.
Then I think I have already linked to Ashley's blog. She recently gave birth and you can read about it HERE!

Last but not LEAST is my daughter, Amber's latest blog post: Here!
Amber even has a video greeting as she gives you the latest goings on!

OK! That's a wrap for the weekend!

We are all in store for a great week!!
I close with one of my favorite quotes from Charles R. Swindoll.

"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities
brilliantly disguised as
impossible situations!"

And THAT'S the truth!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A FUN Friday!!

Today has been such a fun day for me. It seems nearly every time I come down with a good case of 'Tired' - the next day I am  back UP! I appreciate my dear friends and family and the phone calls, messages, emails and such. I am not 'out and about' as much as I used to be and it's nice to be able to keep up with each other through all the modern social networks we have available to us these days.

For years Friday has been 'Beauty Shop Run' where I go to Fort Worth and take my mother to get her hair done. My sweet sisters have covered for me the last couple of months when I am not available  - in Houston. Nita drops Mother off on her way to work and then Deanie picks her up. Mother LIVES with Nita and Deanie shoulders a ton of responsibility for Mother - from meds to doctor visits to nail salons and movies, lunches and outings - and now - the Beauty Shop pick up!

However, TODAY I enjoyed a Fort Worth kind of day!! I arrived early enough at Deanie's for a visit while Mother was at the salon. Since Nita drops her off early - Mother finishes early and Deanie and I were NOT through visiting!

 So I brought Mother back to Deanie's and we all three had the BEST time!

I showed Mother all my latest photos and Facebook 'stuff.'
She loves visiting friends and family on Facebook.....especially the PICTURES!

She loved seeing the nursery all ready and waiting for the Bell Quads!

The three of us had the BEST time!

Next up was LUNCH! Mother knew exactly where she wanted to go!!

Red Lobster! She does love those biscuits!

She nearly always wants the clam chowder and today she said, "BIG one!!"
They brought her a CUP instead of bowl......
she knew the difference and let ME know it, too!

She was one happy lady when the server brought her MORE!!!
AND - she ate every single bit of it!! AND - plenty of biscuits!

It was so much fun to spend some time together. Here lately Mother has been telling me, "I love you ANYWAY!"

(Mother suffered a stroke 6 years ago and her speech and some understanding has been affected. She continues to be a great communicator - with or without WORDS!)

Guess where we went next!
The car wash!
A great spot to entertain grand kids........

....or my Mother!! She got such a kick out of it!
Said she hasn't been there in a LONG time!!!

After leaving Fort Worth I stopped in at the grocery store in anticipation of three of my grandchildren coming tomorrow. They are going to spend the night and that means another FUN day!

LD loves Caterpillar! He has stock in it, I think, because every time he sees one he yells out, "There's a CAT!"
Wish the grands could have been here this week to watch the city guys tear out our old sidewalk and pour a new one! After I got home this afternoon I was surprised that Louis Dean had mowed the yard.
It is SUCH a pretty day so we took our iced tea to the driveway.

I have much to do. Laundry. Yard work. House cleaning. Bills. Chores.
But FIRST of all.......I am going to spend a few minutes looking up at the sky through the swaying pecan tree and counting my blessings!

I saw my mother and one sister. I had a note from another sister. I saw a post from a third sister. My husband mowed the yard. Grand kids are visiting tomorrow.
 I talked to Amber this morning. She is holding on and doing well. Her fellow quad mom, Ashley, gave birth to her quads last Friday and they are all doing well. You can read her latest post - The Martin Quads + One Big Sister.

Amber will be 25 weeks tomorrow!
My heart is so full of joy right now.....I just wanted to share it with YOU!

Happy Friday, Folks!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


That was my day! TRIPLE the fun with the Donley Triplets!!
I was 'beyond thrilled' to meet them in person.
I arrived early enough to help in two feedings.....
feeding Jacob and then holding him and Emma for awhile.

I took a basket lunch along with me.......
finally making the two ingredient dip I have seen in several blogs lately.
It is just sour cream and brown sugar to taste and I had fresh strawberries to dip!
Chicken salad.....meaning a salad with cut up roasted chicken on top....and a coleslaw which is a favorite of mine. A sister church member gave me the recipe a couple of years ago. It is a bag of slaw mix (broccoli slaw is good!) with sliced grapes and diced avocados - all tossed with a poppy seed dressing. MMmmmmm! Good!
I also brought store bought sweets, iced tea in an Amaretto bottle, cheese and some flat Italian herb crackers. I think I am going to duplicate this basket next week for Amber!

After lunch it was time for another feeding and this time I held Miss Ally!
All three babies were as good as gold and SO SO SO SO SO precious!!

It has been a blessing to watch Mary (herself a twin!) grow up and such an awesome person she is and always has been!! Her sister, Marie, is every bit as special to me.
Marie has a blog - LIFE IS SWEET!! She is super creative!! 

Mary and her husband have got this triplet thing DOWN!
I had a ball and gleaned a ton of useful information for when my time comes with the BELL QUADS!

Amber is doing well today. You can catch her latest post - Quad Squad Wheelchair Route! 

That's about it for today! I love good days, don't you?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

They Can't Steal My JOY!

They can steal my STUFF......but not my JOY! And that's all I'm going to say about THAT!

Today -  in the True Tuesday Tradition - I went to the movies and did art! First time to open up the turpentine in a long time!

I started the day with an unpleasant task and after I got that over with - the day was as good as I had hoped it would be.

Brenda - whom I have known for YEARS - and then worked with for a couple of years - treated me to lunch at our favorite BBQ place. We generally keep up with each other by having lunch every month to six weeks. We were WAY behind!

After lunch I met up with another buddy ( the mother of a blogging friend right here in town!) and we took in a movie. I needed some light hearted fare so we opted for the Alvin and the Chipmunks 'Chipwrecked!'

Next on my to do list - the grocery store. I can't tell you the last time I shopped for groceries. Other than a Sam's run or a quick trip to Braums's for dairy, we have been eating what we have. Or what LD has picked up. I had some special things I was wanting to get today. Tomorrow I am taking lunch to my friend who has new triplets! AND I get to hold them and feed them and LOOK at them!! I can't tell you how excited I am about meeting them in PERSON!

While I was shopping I received a call from Amber so I wheeled my cart over and parked it so we could talk! She had an anatomy scan this afternoon and it was a GOOD one! I don't have pics yet but she said the babies are adorable and Harrison looks like Mike!! Harrison and Kailey switched places recently so now he is sandwiched between two sisters with a third across from him - in the place he WAS occupying! The babies have all grown and were looking good. Amber was happy. I aim to be there for the NEXT scan which will be in 3 weeks. That will make her going on her 28th week! All babies have gained weight - each roughly 1 1/2 pounds with Harrison being the heaviest! My heart was singing as I hung up!

To quote Amber from her Facebook post:

"Another successful scan for the quad squad!! Harrison used to occupy my left side to himself, with the three girls stacked horizontally on my right. But he & Kailey have switched so now he's sandwiched by the girls! Bet he's rethinking that move. At 24w3d, Trystan is 1lb9oz, Kailey is 1lb8oz, Harrison is 1lb12oz & Logan is 1lb6oz. Both myself & the babies are doing great!"

When I got home LD helped me unload the trunk then he went back to his projects so I put the groceries away and started on MY projects!
I promised a painting to an A&M graduate LONG ago!
The painting is from a photo he took out in California.
I did make some progress on it today!

Then I went to work on a NEW painting.
This is my youngest grand daughter and I am using an Easter photograph to go by.
I was pretty proud of myself for getting it all based in. It took me 45 minutes!
Still much to do on it.....shadows and high lights and details.
I was just so happy to be painting again!!

I keep 'works in progress' on my easel so I can study them between painting sessions.

The 'art table' has been restored to a dining room.

Louis Dean has finished for the day and now so have I.
Except for that chicken salad. I am having a string of good days!
It helps to hear Amber's sweet voice and she sounding so happy!
It also helps to remember I must needs CULTIVATE joy in my life.
I'm not sure joy simply happens - at least to me. I have to watch and treasure all that brings joy. And I have had a truck load of it lately!!
If I forget - I tend to get bogged down in life and lose my zest.

I continue to thank you for the prayers on behalf of Amber and her babies.
Just as I prepared to close this post I read on Facebook that she is having quite a few contractions.
"Thanks everyone. Things change so quickly....I've been having a lot of contractions this evening so hoping they can put a stop to them soon."

I admit to sometimes being as scared as I am excited!
Thanks for hanging in there with me!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mood Lighting!

Yesterday Louis Dean and I spent most of the day working outside.
Since we were doing grungy work - we even ate our meals out in the gazebo.

As night fell I lit up the outdoor fireplace.
It roared up and then settled down when I put in a couple of logs.

I love the little weed ground cover that has grown up around the stones.
I lost a lot last summer due to the extreme heat and am so happy it is thriving now.
We have had some perfect April days. Cool. Everything is growing and turning so GREEN! The leaves all look plump with moisture. I am not going to allow the dread of summer heat to spoil the enjoyment of this spring!

I plugged in all my little lights and we settled down in the gazebo for the rest of the evening.

I keep this flag up year round but I will soon be decorating the house with a patriotic theme for May-July.

Maggie comes right on outside to sit in Louis Dean's lap!
She is such a part of of lives it is hard to believe we have only had her a year!

We sit and admire her. She gets lots of attention.
Louis Dean and I do not have children together but we do have our 'critters!'

I talked to Amber this morning and she was sipping hot tea with her breakfast tray and watching old Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin movies.

She and Ben have loved this movie since they were young children!

This is the back of her hospital room door.
Her friend, Lisa, brought them and put them up knowing how much Amber loves Jerry Lewis!

Sometimes a little humor can make all the difference!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Louis Dean and I have had the BEST weekend! After church we camped out on the corner of our driveway and enjoyed the perfect April evening!!
Louis Dean serenaded me with his little Classical guitar and sang all of 'our' songs.
I know when he is singing the last one because it is always 'Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.' He's been singing that to me since our second date!

Today has been busy and productive - but not frenzied!
LD was busy working on the lawn house - making a new door and closing up some openings. It was a perfect time for me to clean it up and get it all organized since we were recently 'cleaned OUT' and there is now a lot of room in there!

This used to be Amber's Playhouse and the top part was Benjamin's Fort.
There are still bits and pieces in there left over from their childhoods and I hope I never take them out! These brown paper dolls were a long ago Valentine project made when they were young.

Since this was originally built for the kids to play in we put carpet down.
Wish I had this in my house! Even though we store lawn equipment in here and it was all really dirty - this carpet cleaned up nicely with just a good sweep of the broom!
Bought as a remnant - it was the signature carpet in the Neiman Marcus stores back in the early 80's. True quality!

Talk about MEMORIES!! Amber was a synchronized swimmer for 11 years and part of her collection of PTX (Pirouettes of Texas) bears still sit on her playhouse shelf!

I cannot bring myself to move them so they will remain there keeping watch over the 'playhouse.' I have a ton of lights ready when I need them. I use strings of lights in the house and gardens year round. I also have a big canning kettle which brought back fond memories of past years trips to Farmer's Market. I used to can preserves and green beans, pickles and beets. Not so much anymore.
But I am keeping my kettle and jars.......just in case!

Look how good that carpet looks!

Lots of room to play now!

Louis Dean is working away!
This afternoon I went in to make us a late lunch.

A big tray of veggies to roast with some garlic and rosemary.
It smelled delicious! I pruned back the rosemary - which was invading the rose bush spaces! - and made fragrant bouquets for the house.
I had started the dishwasher before bed last night. LD always makes the coffee so I assumed he just pulled them out and went on his way.
So as I got the food all in the oven I went to unload the clean dishes and -
LO and BEHOLD! It was EMPTY!!
I marched out to the backyard and asked in a loud voice,
"Where is my husband and WHAT have you done to him??"
He has NEVER emptied the dishwasher before!
I was so impressed!

This weekend was a good one for Amber as well.
Mike wheeled her out to the courtyard for a bit of fresh air!
Of course she went complete with wheelchair and IV pole!
Note the Hollywood sunglasses? Her super cool hubby remembered to bring them when he came to visit. He also brought in steaks from Texas Roadhouse - one of their favorite places. I tell you what! These two make a real TEAM!

To quote Amber......

"Now that I've reached the first point of viability, the babies' heart rates get monitored more extensively. That means finding four wiggly heartbeats and strapping on four monitors for at least 30 min. And the quads don't like it so they keep moving & trying to kick them off. FUN!!!"

I guess it's the mom in me but I love SEEING pics showing how Amber is doing when I am not there to see for myself! I love the three pink bands and one blue one!
That BOY is going to be spoiled rotten!!

That's it for our weekend! I am heading back out to check up on Louis Dean.
Can't leave him alone for too long at a time.