eventful weekend

On Friday I flew to DC for some family fun and frolics. I admit I watched more than frolicked. But I’m nearly 70, and I never have been much of a frolicker anyway.

My arrival in DC meant changing clothes in the rental-car-office bathroom and finding my way through Friday afternoon traffic to Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place overlooking the Potomac River in DC. In my closet hangs nothing like the attire the other women wore to this event, but I was not shunned and otherwise fit in well enough to enjoy the evening and good food.

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Plus, I managed to snap this picture of the Ambrose siblings—Beth (Carlson!), Ryan, Shannon (bride-to-be), and Tara.

After a lovely leisurely morning I managed to pull myself together for a ride to Georgetown University.

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I took pictures of the outside of this little church, but the inside gives a better sense for the setting for the wedding.

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Here comes the bride!

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Taylor leads a responsive prayer as part of the ceremony.

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Mr. and Mrs. Will Roberts with Monsignor Jim, who also tied the knot for Taylor and Beth.

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The whole Ambrose family. From this distance you can’t see their teeth chattering. Brrrrrrr! It was so cold!

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At least one of them made it down the aisle.

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The reception, site of much frolicking.

The celebration continued the following day at the groom’s parents’ home—yummy brunch and the long-awaited “gender reveal.” This is a relatively new addition to all the other preparation-for-baby events. The unopened results of the ultrasound are sent to a baker who builds a layer cake using either blue or pink frosting. When the first slice is cut, the parents learn whether they will raise a son or a daughter right along with all of the party guests!

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I’d say Daddy Taylor is pleased with the news.

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Mommy Beth is pleased that he is pleased.

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Next they examine the ultrasound to make sure the baker used the right color.

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S/he did! It’s a BOY!

(Thanks, Trish Ambrose, for making our shared grandbaby’s gender reveal so much fun!)

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rake

Mauri’s recovery from back surgery has gone well once we got past “hell week” (the first following). He’s obeying the doc’s instructions to walk rather than ride his bike. He’s resumed most of his around-the-house tasks, the most recent feeding the dog. But on Friday I fly to the East Coast, leaving him alone to fend for himself. He isn’t allowed to bend or twist yet, so he keeps gadgets handy for those rare occasions when he drops something on the floor.

Anticipating the need to “clean up the yard” (a.k.a scoop poop), Mauri went shopping for a cool tool to aid him in the task.

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Here he demonstrates his super scooping skills for two fascinated grandkids.

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phone dump

The absence of recent posts does not indicate an event-free calendar. I’ve snapped pictures of this and that, whenever I think of it. Sometimes I think of it too late and then, after a few unconsolable minutes, I move on. So tonight you are the lucky one who gets to see, in the few photos collecting on my phone, what we’ve been up to in the past week or so.

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This goes back more that a week to Easter Sunday. Brother DK and Stacey bunked with us a couple of nights, visiting Mom and other family members during the daytime. They are easy guests who only request Mauri’s world-famous coffee in the mornings. We went to church together at the Friendsview Retirement Community Sunday service, then joined Mom on the third floor for a delicious meal. At nearly 96, Mom is slowing on her feet but still fairly speedy in her mind. Her blindness limits what she can enjoy but didn’t stop her from sitting in front of the big-screen TV to “watch” the George Fox women’s basketball team nearly win the NCAA championship. They lost the final game.

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Speaking of basketball, did I mention that Duke won the championship this year?

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Back to Easter, my niece Cheryl shared this delightful picture of her family on Facebook, which I uploaded into my phone. They live in Florida so we can understand why they are all squinting. We rarely squint in Oregon. Left to right, they are Cheryl, Cameron, Peyton, Suzie, Aubrey, Johnny (my brother), and Kevin (son of Suzie and Johnny). Divorce might have divided the parents, but I’m ever grateful they are still on friendly terms.

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A benefit of living in a small college town—free concerts! This one caught our interest because we’ve known the director of the jazz band since he was a little boy and the sax player since birth. Also, the fabulous Melissa Thomas was the featured soloist who belted out several favorite old-timey tunes such as “Fly Me to the Moon” and “They Can’t Take that Away from Me.” We know Melissa through our local sons but . . .

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. . .also in her credits she listed “”…and an appearance on Wee Sing.” Ya gonna love that!

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Friday night and all day Saturday NFC hosted a conference featuring Richard Foster (author of “Celebration of Discipline: the Path to Spiritual Growth”) and his son Nathan, who has also authored a couple of books (I read “Wisdom Chaser”). I attended only one session, though I was registered for the whole thing on a discounted ticket because I was a volunteer.

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I was assigned to a team with these two cuties, granddaughters of my friend and cohort Susan. Now that’s what I call fun!

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Some might recognize this woman as Kim McDonough but she is known to me as an angel. Maybe you’ve heard about essential oils and the many ways they can add warmth and health and well-being to your life. “Angel” (Kim) is a firm believer in essential oils, so she’s the one I asked to recommend oils that might help our Rachel feel better or think better or maybe even help her cancer behave itself. Let’s say “Angel” took my request to heart.

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She researched no small amount before placing my order. But then she went above and beyond the call by preparing these little remedy cards and . . .

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. . . tabbing the pages of the instruction book. Her daughter even colored a “feel better soon” picture for Rachel, who got some really hard news on Friday. She doesn’t qualify for the immunotherapy trial after all because of her alkaline phosphatase liver level is too high. She is now playing the waiting game, which is anything but a game, to learn what her doctors recommend next.

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John, Rachel’s husband, finds drawing every day in his art journal therapeutic. This might be a self portrait.

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These are the only ones who didn’t scamper when I pulled out my phone to snap a picture as Josh and Jessi and Ridgely (and the others—Tammy, Jeff, Mauri, and Wally) gathered in the foyer after church on Sunday. We visited a local church together. Josh and Jessi recently bought a house in our neighborhood’s vicinity, and the four parents came to town for the weekend to help them paint and etc.

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Then straight to Wu’s Open Kitchen for some lunch and to follow the Master’s golf scores. We aren’t usually so interested except we know the winner’s caddie, Michael Greller. Of all things.

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Mauri’s been taking long walks, per doctor’s orders, and on occasion I tag along. I had to stop along the way to take a picture of a palm tree, something you see in Arizona. But Oregon?

You still with me? We’re almost to the end of my photo dump. But look!

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Beth texted this picture to my phone today. It’s Taylor mailing off an envelope containing the results of today’s ultrasound of the baby to Beth’s sister Shannon, who will take it to a baker who will prepare the gender reveal cake (pink or blue) to be cut open on April 26 in the state of Virginia the day after Shannon and Will’s wedding. You follow that? And yes, I plan to be there to learn the gender of my newest grandchild.

And finally . . .

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Bailey and his friend Tanner (with their parents) at their “signing party” at Gilbert Christian High School. Both Tanner and Bailey will be attending Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, on athletic scholarships.

It’s all just very exciting.

Posted in blather, family matters | 1 Comment

another update from rachel

Hello family and friends,

Once again, an update has been overdue, but once again, things have been up in the air and changing so quickly, it’s been hard to know how to fill you all in without changing the plan/outcome every week or so.

Here’s where we are: I am back on long-term disability due to increasing pain caused by infected lymph nodes pressing on nerves and organs. This pain has affected my mobility, which has been especially hard. Thankfully, I’ve been working with palliative care and now have the right pain medicines, so this is beginning to improve. Once again, I miss teaching, but I’m glad for opportunities to still volunteer some in the classroom, and that I am able to stay home when I need to.

I have also been working to get into an immunotherapy clinical trial, and finally, I think it’s actually going to happen. It is a Phase 1 Interluekon-12 trial (aka immunotherapy). It is a 28-day treatment cycle. I will begin treatment Tuesday, April 14 in Bethesda, Maryland, and return home Thursday, April 16. I’ll go back just for the day the next two Tuesdays, then I have a week off, and then return for another treatment where I’ll stay again for four days. The outcome we are hoping for is stable disease (no growth). We can also hope that this will improve outcomes when I return to conventional treatment at some point in the future.

So that’s the clinical stuff. Otherwise, we are plugging along, trying to maintain some normalcy in our lives. Oscar started soccer a few weeks ago, and will return to swimming lessons next week. He’s reading up a storm, and already talking about first grade. John is drawing and painting and plans to take part in POST (Philadelphia Open Studio Tours) in the fall. I am still knitting, and I’ve recently noticed I now have eyebrows and eyelashes. Exciting stuff. On Monday, I even managed to mini-golf with John and Oscar.

And we’ve been blessed with friends and family that continue to show us care. One friend brings us dinner every Sunday, giving us extra time together before the week begins. Another friend coordinated meals and childcare when my mobility was really bad. Through this coordination, even more friends signed up to bring Oscar home from school, or come over and help with dinner and bedtime. Another friend gave us four weeks of a meal service called Blue Apron–three nights a week we didn’t have to think about dinner; instead, we just cooked up what was in the box. Another friend paid to have our house cleaned. And still more friends have taken Oscar out for the day, or even for sleepovers, giving John and me a little extra time together. Still more friends and family have sent cards, thoughtful care packages, and messages of support and love. You continue to remember us, even as this “stuff” seems to goes on and on. To experience this kind of love is humbling (and at times, overwhelming). We are beyond thankful.

With much love and gratitude,

Rachel (John & Oscar)

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Here’s the direct link to her Go Fund Me post.

[I amended the dates from her post, since April 14 is actually a Tuesday. If I’m wrong, I’ll come back and fix this post.]

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the more things change the more they stay the same

This is a photo story that illustrates the post title and well-used expression: The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

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Let’s begin with this photo of Quinn as a child. When I shared this pic on Facebook a while ago, someone commented that she needed to wear some pants. But back in the ’70s, it was perfectly acceptable and very cute for little girls to wear short dresses that allowed their undies to show. No one thought a thing about it.

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We plopped our babies (this one’s Ben) in the center of a crib whose slats were nearly a head’s width apart. And we held them in our laps in the front seat of the car.

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I dressed Ben as an Indian for Halloween.

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And Quinn as a witch!

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We let her drive our old, rusty VW. (Not really, but I couldn’t resist including this cute pic.)

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They dressed up for Easter Sunday. Stylin’!

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Taylor played with firearms.

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And rode his bike recklessly without a helmet.

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The kids walked to school.

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We let Taylor dress like a woman. (Right, guys do that now.) Actually, he humored me but then changed into something ghoulish for the streets that particular October 31.

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We let the kids as older youth jump from the garage roof into the pool.

That’s a lie. We didn’t let them, they just did it anyway when we weren’t home.

Nearly every one of my examples would not be acceptable today. Of course changes for our little darlings’ safety are valued. And I won’t bloviate about the way I liked things better back in the day. But here’s one thing I don’t see changing, but staying very much the same.

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The chart! I’ve endured a lot of teasing from my children for the charts I made for them when they were kids. But look!

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This offering comes from Thirty Handmade Days, but just Google “printable parenting charts” to find every conceivable chart under the sun.

Like I said, the more things change the more they stay the same. I see that I’ve already written a post with this title. After I click “Publish” I’m going to go check it out.

 

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love to be love

I’m happy to report that Mauri has felt up to being back in the studio. I guess he had “that song” in his head and needed to record a demo. Here, have a listen:

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#tbt for rachel (et al)

Dear Rachel,

Since it’s Throwback Thursday, I thought I’d post some archival Macy family pictures to cheer and entertain you.

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Here’s a good place to start. It’s a picture I took of your family when I visited from Michigan in 1990.

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We’ll jump around some chronologically. This one goes back to 1983 and was taken for the church directory.

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Your pop took this keeper and named it “MacyThreeCleanedUp.”

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I scanned these next few pics from slides of your parents’ courtship and early married years. Could be you haven’t ever seen them.

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Isn’t this the coolest shot? Taken down in the basement of the church where your pop later served in ministry for 33 years!

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From the look in her eye, I’m guessing your dad was behind the camera.

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Buried in school work.

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A graduate from Elmhurst College in Illinois.

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A big day for your mom!

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Shhhhhh. Baby’s sleeping. That’s you, of course.

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You probably figured I’d have a series in this collection.

Had enough? OK, here are some more recent ones.

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Getting ready then posing just before your wedding reception guests started arriving. Of course you had eloped to Jamaica weeks before this special event. Maybe I should do a post of only pictures of that night. It was so much fun!

Maybe just a few more . . . of your brothers.

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2002—Fathers Day

Pete, John, Titan

They still love to sing and play, but they don’t have as much discretionary time as they used to have.

Feel better now? Sure hope so. Love you.

Posted in family matters, nostalgia | 5 Comments