Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Celebrating Mike! A Son-in- 'Love' to be Proud of!

 Amber made plans for Mike's 39th birthday weeks ago!
She lined up a special weekend celebration for the two of them with the girls coming home with us after Sunday morning worship service at Fellowship Church in Grapevine and Harrison going to an overnight with one of his best friends. So Amber and Mike would be 'Home Alone!'
That doesn't happen very often!

I am still excited that the kids are old enough to be out of their carseats!!
Three precious little girls lined up in the back seat of my car!

We came home and they were so excited to see Granddad!
Of course, he was even more excited to see them!
I put out an appetizer tray of cheese, olives and crackers while I got dinner ready.

I had cooked a crockpot full of chicken thighs for a chicken and rice dish......
until Kailey opened the freezer drawer to get ice for her tea - which the girls drank from stemmed glasses - and spied bags of Orange Chicken from Trader Joe's! Their favorite! Except for Trystan.
I solved that problem by taking a serving of the chicken out before I added the orange sauce and making regular white rice instead of the vegetable fried rice from Trader Joe's that the rest of us ate.
Win! WIN!!
I loved seeing them around the dining room table!
I even allowed Logan to light the pear candles at each place setting.....with supervision!

The quads are 8 years old - actually closer to 9 now than 8!
They are growing up.

Samantha was adorable fitting herself into the ceiling light cover that fell down in the guest room.
The kids enjoyed playing with the kittens!

One of the things they always love to do is cut flowers.
There's not much blooming right now but they still managed to find the makings for a few miniature bouquets. Since they love to cut things.....I gave them pruning shears and showed them a bush that has overgrown to the other shrubs as well as the cedar tree in the front flower bed. I told them to pretend they were giving it a haircut! If there's a long loose tendril - cut it off!
It wasn't long before that bush was cut back nicely!
Lots and lots of birds live in there and we had fun peering through the leaves to see them.

We came in and played games!
Pick up Sticks! A CLASSIC!
As we were looking in the game closet - which is in the guest room - one of the girls said, "You have a lot of the old games instead of the new ones!" I told her, "These are not 'old' ones! They are classics!"
As they age each year - more games are available to them to play.
Soon to come - Pictionary and Win, Lose or Draw!

But the new game for this year is NUTS!!!
Normally, you need to be around 10 years old to be able to play this game but I decided to give them a try at it. They are remarkably GOOD! After just one hand, they pretty much had it down. I wasn't the best of teachers - I forgot that we turn the pile of 13 cards face UP - so we played the first round that way and they still learned the basics!

We played for a couple of HOURS!!
For supper we had a High Tea....complete with Tea Cakes!
Little Debbie Unicorn Cakes. 
The girls loved them!
They are strawberry flavored cakes with a cream filling and frosting and each is a different color.
Lemon cream cookies, ham and cheese tea sandwiches, bread and butter with sugar on top sandwiches, and sliced apples rounded out the tea.
We used the tea set Uncle Dean gave me for our tea party. It's our favorite since the cups match the plates and you don't need a saucer.

After games, they took turns taking showers.
Amber has taught them to shower every night.
Granddad had Gunsmoke on and they watched that before and after their turn in the bathroom.
He baked a pizza for them - just in case that tea party didn't fill them up.
Then it was off to bed to read before falling asleep.
The guest room sleeps three perfectly.
Trystan always gets the top bunk and Logan and Kailey share the bottom double bed.

I admit I was really tired by the end of the day and went on to bed even as the girls were taking turns in my shower. They are so sweet and thoughtful and it just filled my heart to hear them talk amongst themselves. I told them I had not forgotten the ritual of having snacks out for them the next morning. They have to be asleep before I put them out and this time I told them they would be on the den game table along with the Nuts cards so they could snack and them play games.

As soon as the last one was out of the shower and the guest room door closed, I got up and set the tray I had prepared ahead of time and covered with a tea cloth on the table in the den.
Cheese crackers, string cheese, sliced apples and peanut butter, Unicorn Little Debbie cakes, lemon cream cookies and a tea pot of lemonade.

I heard them get up around 8:00 and I went back to sleep until 9:00.

That's when I turned the coffee on.
The girls do love their coffee with MeeMaw!!
They specifically asked for the frothed milk so they got it!
Along with Hershey's chocolate syrup and a shaker of cinnamon sugar.
And Christmas Coffee which is a gourmet coffee with cinnamon. And milk.
A large cream pitcher full of milk and refilled more than once.

While my coffee was good......

Logan took hers to a whole nuther level!!
I was not surprised this Tuesday morning when I saw Louis Dean's container of Hershey's chocolate empty!

Once we all had our cups of coffee in hand .....Logan said, "It would be so nice to watch a Gunsmoke while we drink our coffee......"

What 8-year-olds want to watch Gunsmoke???
I remember the older grands when they would come to visit.
They would go home and say, "Granddad only watches old western shows!"
Somehow, someway, these kids like what Granddad likes!

He was a proud Granddad when he walked into the den with his coffee later Monday morning and saw all of us watching Gunsmoke!!!

The girls would discuss each episode.....
"what do you think is going to happen?"
"why would she DO that?"
All sorts of questions and there was a moral to every story.
Good always won in the end and right prevailed.
Not like in real life.......or so it seems to me.

After Gunsmoke and before we really started our day, we read the Bible together.
Right now Louis Dean and I are reading through the Bible and are currently in the book of Daniel.
When the kids are here, we read in Proverbs and they knew it would be Proverbs chapter 18 since it was the 18th of January. We each read 6 verses and yet we messed up some way because when Logan, who was the last to read, only had two verses - I told her to read on and she read the entire chapter of Proverbs 19.

We spent Monday doing all sorts of things.
We read books out loud and I cooked chicken and rice for lunch.
The girls were good about making the beds and starting their laundry and entertaining themselves.
They spent a lot of time perfecting their Nuts game!
They got it down so well that they felt certain they could teach Harrison.
I gathered up all my playing cards from the game closet - except for the Santa cards in their special metal tins that we use each and every Christmas Eve - and they selected the ones they wanted to take home. A deck of cards for each granddaughter and one for Harrison (a baseball rookie deck) as well as one for Mommy and Daddy AND two extra for if they have friends over.

By now it was time to freshen up and meet up with Mike and Amber and Mike's parents at Red Lobster for Mike's birthday dinner celebration!

Amber made reservations for a 'Table for 10!'

It was such a fun evening and we are so grateful to be able to celebrate as a family in these Covid restricted times.

I truly believe these are two of the most beautiful people in the world today.
At least in MY world!
As parents, we all think this of our children, don't we?
God gifted me with the best son-in-love possible.
Mike is a rock in our family.
We all know he will be there when and if we need him.
He is honorable, kind, hardworking, selfless, God fearing, loving, supportive and the very best husband to our daughter and father to our grandchildren that we could ever ask for. 

Happy 39th birthday to my favorite - and only - Son in LOVE!!!

Red Lobster was so much fun last night!
Great food and great service!
Louis Dean looked so handsome and this was not the best pic of him - I wasn't quick enough to capture that one - but this one looks pretty good, too!

It had been a great day and Amber and Mike followed us home to get the girls' suitcases and to take Tabitha and Samantha home with them.
I cut their nails right before they left and sent them off with a 7 pound bag of cat food. They have graduated from kitten to cat! We were planning on leaving for the ranch and the Bells love having the kittens over so they can visit with their sister, Ginger.

We watched the latest Bull episode and went right to bed at 11:00.
Even though we were both tired - neither one of us slept well until the wee hours of the morning.

It was 11:00 when I woke up and noon before Louis Dean stirred.
The ranch was still wet from previous rain as well as the snow they got while we didn't get any up here.
The road in was okay - until it started to to rain this morning at 7:00. Rain remains in the forecast for the next few days .....so we decided to stay home until it is dry enough to drive in without a problem.
That was a tough call since we were all packed and ready to load up and go.....our bee meeting is next Tuesday and I am hoping we can get down there by then.

So we filled our day with this and that knowing we had nothing that we HAD to do.
It was one of those 'free' days! You could do whatever!
So I stayed in bed until nearly 2:00.
I read and journaled and played games and sent messages and emails and prayed and read some more.
I could hear Louis Dean out in the backyard just beyond our bedroom door......he's cleaning up some of Sanford and Son's former area. They don't really live here anymore! WOW!!
Never thought this day would come!

When I got up - Louis Dean went down for a nap.
I decided to go out and use my 'free' time to work in the flower beds along the new deck.
I took out all the pots and containers with plants in them and lined them up on the deck.

You can see this is a work in progress! 
The tubs are what we have taken out of the kitchen so far in preparation of the new countertop project.

I pulled my first fire pit out of the Asian Jasmine debris and dumped out the dirt.
I had planted periwinkles in it for the last several years.
The ground cover had chained it and it was not an easy job to chop it all loose - but I did it!
Then I filled it with the vines and other debris and had it ready to light for the first time in over 13 years. I waited until Louis Dean woke up from his nap. It was a memorable moment.
The fire pit was still in good shape.
We had replaced it because Louis Dean wanted to burn bigger pieces of wood.

So tonight we had a two fire pit kind of night!
This is the Hillbilly fire pit he made using an old wash tub and the base of our last fire pit.

It was chilly out there but I fixed a light supper of ham and cheese, celery and a slice of avocado.
The first part of November I tried on 4 or 5 pair of jeans and discovered I had 'outgrown' them.
Since then I have lost 13 pounds.
Today I tried on one of the pair of jeans - and have worn them comfortably all day!
That's just such a good feeling!!!

So tonight I am trying to make the best of what I have!

As the world fights to figure everything out, Biden, Trump, COVID, BLM, Life...I’ll be holding doors for strangers, letting people cut in front of me in traffic, keeping babies entertained in grocery lines, stopping to talk to someone who is lonely, tipping generously, sharing food, giving children a thumbs-up, being patient with sales clerks, smiling at passersby.
WHY? Because I will not stand to live in a world where love is invisible. Join me in showing kindness, understanding, and judging less. Be kind to a stranger, give grace to people who may be having a bad day, be forgiving with yourself.
If you can’t find kindness, BE kindness.

From my Cousin Pam's Facebook post


Jutta said...


Ginny Hartzler said...

Did you put the pear candles in the stemmed glasses? How brilliant! What a great visit all of you had! And this is the best picture of Louis Dean I have ever seen. I didn't even recognize who he was at first, he looks 40 years old!

Bluebird49 said...

What a fun post of you "girl-time", Linda! It was a fun read. <3

Vee said...

Will the kitties come back or stay with Amber? The girls are growing and it is no surprise to me that they were more then able to cope with a complicated game. I am sure that they will be excellent teachers when Harrison wants to learn, too.

All of that FB meme fits nicely into my favorite expression lately: Your mood should not dictate your manners.

Changes in the wind said...

A great birthday celebration and a wonderful time for the grandparents. I end up tired just hearing about all you do but know you do it because you enjoy it. Hope you have a wonderful time at the ranch.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Your life shows all the kindness in your heart. Just because other people are mean, we don't have to follow their example. for sure. There is always plenty of room for kindness in this world. We do have to make the best of what we have in this world. Hope you have a good trip to the ampler and the rain stops.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

trip to the camper at the ranch that is....

photowannabe said...

Linda, your heart is pure Gold.
I love the things you do for your family, Quads and friends.
Can I be a Quad too? I love tea parties.
I can't believe LD is 84...he looks like he is in his 50's.
You really have a keeper there.
Glad you stayed home until the weather is better. That will make the Ranch even more special and comfy when you get there.
Wow, 13 pounds..good for you loosing the weight and the jeans fitting. Major Kudos to you.

Carole said...

Wow, 13 pounds - that's almost a stone - fantastic. Love to hear about your doings. Cheers

Hootin' Anni said...

Your weight loss is some huge accomplishment to be proud of!! You go girl. Those grandkids kept you busy & giving the two grown-ups time to themselves is a special "gift" for all involved.

A busy time, a fun time, and family time. A perfect time.

Susie said...

Linda, I love how you described Mike. He is a wonderful caring person. So is your sweet LD. Your family is loving and fun. Wow, those children are growing so quickly. My little Emma is grown now. She was my joy at the quads age. Well she is still my special girl and always will be. Hope you always get to have over nights and tea parties with your grands. We sure do love them, don't we? Blessings and love to all of you, xoxo,love, ,Susie

BeachGypsy said...

I love this post Linda girlfriend!--I grew up watching Gunsmoke and loved it. and I grew up playing pick up sticks......one of my most favorite games. I doubt many children of today even know what it is or a Barrel full of Monkeys or that Marble Kerplunk game. We also loved Battleship and remember Etch a Sketches??---so fun!! I loved playing Old Maid when I was a kid. Uno hadn't been invented yet. Shows how old I am , ha ha LOL. I love that thing your cousin Pam has on her facebook, I do so try to live my life like this. Sometimes you can make a big difference w/out even realizing it. I try to sew good seeds wherever I go and I can most certainly tell that you do this as well. Loved catching up with you and Louis Dean and that tea party looked so fun, the ones I do for Fairy Granddaughter are very nearly identical, we make good use out of those little debbie cakes for sure, ha ha LOL! Glad you got this time with the ones there, believe me those kids will always remember these times. Hugs!

BeachGypsy said...

PS....AND thank you for the compliments on my outfits. You KNOW GIRLFRIEND....most of my "outfits" are just things I've just thrown together ha ha ha LOL. And i buy so much of my stuff at the thrift stores. Fun stuff, and SO CHEAP!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

What a wonderful gift that you gave to Amber and Mike, time alone! It looks like the grands enjoyed their visit as much as you and Louis Dean did even if it did get a bit tiring. How nice that they enjoyed watching Gunsmoke too and playing games that do not require a computer or screen time. Glad to read that you are back at the ranch and hope you have many enjoyable days and evenings to come, Linda.

Judy said...

So many great things in this post! I had to smile at the 'Gunsmoke' story...my dad passed away a few months ago but it was one his his favorite shows. Sounds like a fantastic time with your girls!

Great-Granny Grandma said...

Happy days!
Loved reading this post and looking at the pictures.
I remember playing pick up sticks back in the day.
Sounds like you all had a very fun time.