Friday, January 1, 2021

The Days After Christmas......

 Summer enjoyed her Christmas in Puerto Rico with Sabrina and Rayne!
I love the photos she sent to me!

And I love this sweet Rayne-Roo!!!
Isn't this just the most precious picture?

They have all had so much fun.

Christmas photos with Santa look a little different this year!

I love this one!! (And the other one, too!)
Very clever!

These happy faces make my heart sing!
Summer will be staying on in Puerto Rico for anothe month or two and I am just thrilled for her!

Here's Chandy and her Bella on Christmas morning in Snyder, Texas!
We did not get to make a December visit as we had planned but Chandy is so good to send us pics and texts and keep us in the loop.
I wish everyone could meet Chandy! 
She is the most fun and charming young lady and she will make you laugh and smile.
I love her voice!
When she sends videos to us, she doesn't realize that sometimes my favorite part is just hearing her chuckle as she's filming.

Louis Dean was determined to finish the new deck in time for my Christmas present - and he did!

In the days after Christmas, I set about putting the house back to rights and he put the steps in since the new deck is slightly higher than the old one....due to the height of the sump pump underneath  it!
We all know what a fan Louis Dean is of Gorilla Glue.
Can you spot the drips where he added some on the steps??
Fortunately, once it's dried you can chip that excess right off.
Not that he's done that yet! 

I took myself to Home Depot on Sunday afternoon to get some pansies to pretty it all up.
Turns out they had after Christmas LIGHTS on sale!!!
I bought up enough to last me all 2021 with half of them being LED!!

On Saturday afternoon, I had hit up a few stores looking for after Christmas sales.
I have been wanting a red spread for our bedroom and I found this one at Tuesday Morning for just $17! I'm going to use it through the month of February. It's just so cheery!

I also found a pair of nice looking comfy - or fairly comfy - shoes.
Since my toe surgeries, I have not been able to wear pretty shoes.
Both of my big toes are made of titanium and my right toe is forever popped up a bit so that makes finding shoes that are pretty AND comfortable next to impossible.
I wore these when I went shopping on Sunday and discovered they are not comfortable for very long!
But I can wear them to church and that makes me happy.
I really miss wearing pretty shoes.

I made a meal of Chinese stirfry using Amber's recipe for Sunday night supper and Louis Dean gave it a thumbs up. Can you tell he's been spray painting??

I just love this pretty picture of Samantha in the Christmas tree!

By Monday night (the 28th) I had the house all cleaned up and was ready to welcome the Bell Squad on Tuesday afternoon! Amber brought them over around 3:00 and they stayed with us until 8:00 on New Year's Eve. We had the best time!!

I had the appetizer table all ready for when they arrived!
 Cheese and crackers, olives and veggie bars.
They nibbled on that while the Texas shaped chicken tenders and a tray of oven roasted veggies baked.
They had a late breakfast so this was their late lunch!

Right after the dishes were done, we loaded up in the car and drove over to Kimmy and June's to deliver some pinto beans and some other goodies.
This was a memorable occasion!
It was THE very first time EVER that I had all four of them in my car at the same time.
8 years old and in the third grade and finally out of their car seats!
We were all so excited!

We visited Kimmy and June from afar with our masks on.
They have a green porchlight so that's why we are a bit 'green!'

While they all took showers (and I can't believe how self sufficient they are!) I made Rice Pilaf with shredded rotisserie chicken for our supper.

We carried our bowls into the den and ate while we watched one of my favorite movies!
I just love this one. We were all having a pleasant evening when Kailey came back from taking her bowl to the kitchen to tell us the cats were outside!

They are such curious little critters!!!
This was a pic I took of them on Saturday and, oh, how they love to look outside.
Was it any wonder they grabbed the chance to actually BE outside!!
The back French doors had not closed well enough so they escaped.
Kailey quickly captured Samantha but that Tabitha gave me a run for my money!
We were all spread out in the back yard - which is a big jumble of debris - and none of us could get her!
I finally sent all the kids in the house and then I stayed out by the gazebo to see if she would come back. By this time Louis Dean had come out - even though he says he will NOT chase cats!!
And he didn't. He just sat in the gazebo and, sure enough, Tabitha sashayed along in front of him.
Still, she would not be caught. It was starting to drizzle by this time and I was really tired!
I was finally able to get ahold of her when she got distracted chasing a moth.

We were all worn out now so we turned the movie off and said we would finish it the next day!
9:00 and everyone went to bed - except Louis Dean and he stayed up watching Gunsmokes.
By 10:00 the girls were asleep in the guest room and I had showered and was going to bed myself!
As it turns out, Harrison likes to sleep in the big chaise chair in the living room.
He could hear the TV so he slipped on into the den and watched back to back episodes of Gunsmoke with his granddad. Perfect!

Harrison was still asleep when the girls and I were getting our coffee.
A little coffee and a lot of milk.....and some Hershey's chocolate syrup.

Louis Dean and I read the Bible together every morning and, in honor of the quads being here, instead of reading in Ezekial, I chose Proverbs 30. As in the 30th of December. Then we all read aloud from a Christmas book....each child choosing one from my collection.

One of the activities they did that morning was gather up all the Christmas cards we've received this year, count them and then separate them according to theme. They had a stack of Santas, of nativity scenes, of angels, family photo ones, and such. We received more family photo cards than any other. Next was the red cardinal or dove. I forget what came in third - I think it was the nativity scene.
I have them all in a bag placed in my Bible basket. Each morning I take the card in front and we read it out loud and pray for the one who sent it. Then I turn it right side out and place it in the back. We received nearly 100 cards so each sender will be prayed for at least three times this year.

The kids entertain themselves very well!!
I just put out some oranges and a tin of cloves and they did the rest.

Logan made 2021 on her orange.
Trystan put her initials on one and Kailey made a pretty design.

The kids had a good time Wednesday.
Once again, we all piled in the car and made a run to Tom Thumb for tea party things for the next day.

It was a tradition for me to leave snacks out for them in the mornings when they spend the night.
I didn't  think I had snackies they would like so I didn't leave anything out for them - and they noticed that! First, they said, "Meemaw, I'm sorry you had a bad night."
They thought I had not felt well or that they had not been good was why I hadn't left them with special snacks.
When I explained that I didn't have anything to put out - Kailey immediately flung open the pantry door and proceeded to point out a box of vanilla wafers, a package of shortbread cookies, and then suggested I could use those for the next morning! I also had pretzels and Texas Trash!
It touched my heart that they do not want to give up any of the little rituals we have developed over the years. So, YES! We made a run at the grocery store!

The cats got out another THREE times that day and I was so happy to get them inside their kennels Wednesday night! All the late nights of Christmas week had caught up with us and, again, the girls and I were all in bed by 9:00 and sleep by 10:00. Except for Harrison, but I wouldn't dream of preventing him from spending some extra stolen hours with his granddad!

Before I went sound asleep, I got up and set out a box of donuts - three different kinds - along with some fancy things I had bought and a note to find yogurt cups in the fridge.

I woke up to some happy campers on New Year's Eve morning!!
And it was a COLD one, too!!!

Since the girls get such a kick out of having coffee with me - I decided to take it up a notch with frothed milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar!

I had the fire laid and ready to light!
The temps were to drop steadily throughout the day and they did!

Amber nor Mike drink coffee and I heard the kids say, "We are going to miss our caffeine! It really helps us wake up!!" I seriously doubt there's enough caffeine in their greatly diluted cup of 'coffee' but it was fun to hear them talk!
Harrison doesn't like coffee but he's a big fan of chocolate milk!

After reading Proverbs 31 - and this time we passed the Bible and we would each read two verses, pass the Bible to the next person and keep going around - it was time for our outloud reading.
Logan had read half of A Child's Christmas at St. Nicolas Circle so she finished the second half.
It's a beautiful book featuring the paintings of Thomas Kinkade.
Kailey read some more of The Christmas House which describes the different rooms and people in the house. Trystan and Harrison both read from a collection of Christmas poems. 
Then it was Granddad's turn!

Louis Dean reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas was so precious.

It is his favorite!
When he was a school teacher, he put on plays based on this book.
He knows it by heart and he is quick to point out that his plays were done long before the book gained such fame and movies and TV specials were made from it.

I love it!!!

Now it is New Year's Eve afternoon and the kids will be going home that evening.
So - it's time for a Tea Party!
I had thought they might have outgrown them but they assured me they have not!
They even hunted for the Tea Party Game we used to play where you would spin the needle and try to collect all the things required for a good tea party!
Napkins, plate, cups and saucers, tea cakes, tea cookies, tea sandwiches, fruit, and utensils.
Sadly, I really did believe they had outgrown that one. It was designed for three year olds and up.
I didn't realize how far UP they would go!! 

So we prepared for our High Tea - with it serving the purpose for lunch as well.

Harrison had the idea to dip pretzels and strawberries in white chocolate.

Another successful tea party!
They asked me how long we have been doing them and it's been just about all their life!
They were 18 months old when I did the very first one - if they were that old.

This is from 2014 when they were two years old and I know we started before that!

Harrison did a great job with these and they took what they didn't eat home with them.

Making more tea party memories!

Our last activity was making masks.
This is our reality so we sorted through the fabrics and each girl made one.
Logan and Trystan both used the same design.

There was one last Chase Tabitha adventure!
She escaped for a total of six times!!

Our time together simply went by way too fast.
A mere 53  hours but they were chock full of all kinds of wonderful moments.

Then, just like that, the house was quiet and we were alone.
I prowled through the rooms looking for items they may have left behind and only came up with one face masks that was under a chair.
They are really growing up!


Arlene @Nanaland said...

I love these posts Linda...reminds me of the quad days you had with them when they were younger. So glad they remember all the special times with you and LD. Loved the Grinch reading!! Perfect!

Ginny Hartzler said...

What a wonderful time you all had!! This will forever be among their best memories forever. Your deck is lovely and large! And I do see the drips on the bottom step. I want to see it all furnished now! Will you stain it? I have not been able to wear pretty shoes for so long now. Mostly I wear Crocs.

Pam M. said...

Oh Linda, your re-creation of your adventures absolutely amazes me. Such fun with your 4 littles. Love, love your traditions. Happy New Year to you & LD.

Joy Midtdal said...

Happy New 2021 Linda and LD and thank you for sharing your wonderful time - treasures.

Changes in the wind said...

The deck looks wonderful!! LD did a great job and I know you all will enjoy it. The quads have gotten so grown up but they still love the fun time with the grandparents. Happy new year to you and yours.

Sandra said...

i think you started the tea parties when they were finding it hard to fit in the round table with the cut out seats.. all their life.. so happy for Summer and family, love the New way to do Santa pics.. i have the same problem with shoes. not only do i have 2 of the hammer toes, one on each foot, by the big toe, kills me to wear any shoe. and i love pretty shoe and pretty sandals. i can't even find new walking shoes, i have the toe problem plus the right ankle problem and most walkers are cut to high for that ankle. i miss pretty shoes

Stacy said...

What a wonderful and fun-filled holiday you've had. I love seeing all your photos of your beautiful, cozy home at any time, but especially when it's wearing it's holiday finery. It's nice to see all the happy faces, too. I wish you and Louis Dean (and all your family) a very Happy New Year!

Deb said...

What a nice, family-filled Christmas! I love the new deck - that is super nice and I know you will enjoy it. I love how you pray for all the people who sent you Christmas cards. How nice! I always enjoy the pictures of your fun and joy-filled home!

Vee said...

Precious to have that extended time with your beautiful grands. They make the hours fly. Now chasing cats is one of my least favorite things to do. I can't imagine having to do it six times! That was a nice reading of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. There are many thieves whose hearts are two sizes too small. Maybe they'll repent as the Grinch finally did.

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

It's good you are making memories for them that will last forever ! They'll never forget the happy times they spend with you. Youo've made their lives extra special in so many ways !

Ginny Hartzler said...

I meant to comment more last night, but got too sleepy! I was amazed that Amber does not drink coffee! I have known that she is a Super Mom, but this really takes it to the next level! She must be so healthy and have so much energy! Also, the quads must know they are so very much loved by all of you!

Eileen in Fla. said...

Silly Grandma, don't you know the Quads will will want tea parties when they're 18, 25, 55 years old? One day they will make you a party and eventually their own grandchildren a tea party. The memories you so lovingly made with them will live in their hearts forever.

Susie said...

Linda, Those grandkids truly touch my heart. So kind and smart. I love that they still wanted things to be the same as always at your house. The morning treats and the tea party. Oh so adorable. I love that Harrison was Granddad's side kick for the westerns. It made me smile to think of the fun. Blessings to all and many good wishes in this new year. Love all of you, xoxo, Susie

Carole said...

they have grown up so much! You need to find a way to train Tabitha? Using food? Not that I'm any kind of expert on cats... Cheers

NanaDiana said...

Linda- You write such wonderful posts and I know that someday those kids will look back on these posts and relive all the memories you are creating for them..and better yet--really know who YOU are. Love that LD finished the porch for you. How great is that!
I need to get to Home Depot and see if they have any lights left, too. Somehow a lot of mine never seem to work from year to year.
Wishing you and Louis Dean a wonderful, blessed 2021. xo Diana

ps-Summer looks fantastic!!!!

Bluebird49 said...

What wonderful memories your grandchildren are going to have of these times with you and Louis Dean! I can just hear them talking in years to come about all the fun they had, about all the special treats you had and using special china, etc. About the stories they were read, the morning snacks left to eat until you woke up, going to their sports activities and so much more. Y'all are very blessed! <3 Of course, I know you know it and appreciate it, too! Love you!

photowannabe said...

Wow, I read your journal yesterday and realized I never made a comment.
It was so delightful, full of Love, Laughter and precious memories.
I truly loved listening to LD reading the Grinch.
Can I be in your family???
The Quads are so fortunate to have you two in their lives and so close.
Tea Parties and special treats..The Best!!
I love that they want to keep the traditions alive too.
I remember that my Mom used to make special cookies for my 2 boys and a special little loaf of bread for each of them for Christmas.
I guess it got too hard for her to do or she thought the kids really didn't want it.
When we would go home after being there and there were no cookies or bread..the boys tried to put on a "game face" but they were so sad. It was a precious tradition. My Mom died the day after Christmas 25 years ago after a week in the hospital.. so that definitely was the end of a special tradition. I still think of it every year.
At least we have the treasured memories to take with us.
Happy New Year Linda and Louis Dean

Debbie said...

such sweet family images....

and listenting to ld read that grinch story, priceless. love the closing words!!!