determined

Rachel's face

What’s that saying— “The more things change the more they stay the same”? Look at the match-up of Rachel’s face! Determined.

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zero birthdays

We thought we had a pretty good plan going to celebrate Taylor’s 40th birthday while I was in Arizona. But then life got a bit topsy turvy, and then Taylor’s business travels would have interfered anyway. You know what they say about best-laid plans. No worries about Taylor either. He and his family and a friend and their visiting-from-Virginia family took a relatively short drive down to Puerto Penasco, Mexico, for a weekend celebration at the beach. So life goes on . . .

1978-March-Taylor Carlson is 18 mo Durham NC

Here’s my little blue-eyed blond-headed cutie back in the day.

View More: http://leahhopephotography.pass.us/carlson-family

Here he is all grown up with a little not-so-blue-eyed blond-headed cutie of his very own. This pic comes from a family photo shoot for Declan’s one-year pics. I’ll make a post of my favorites soon.

And today we celebrate Mauri’s 70th birthday.

MMM 70th

This morning he took a bike ride with these girls and their daddy (John) and they threw a little birthday celebration for him.

Since we already had his big party, we’re taking it easy today, eating at home, bingeing on Longmire Season Five episodes. I’m writing this while he takes the dog for a walk. That kind of perfect day.

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The birthday boy is reading his many birthday greetings on Facebook. That in itself is a whoppin’ celebration!

So here’s a cheer for our family’s two ZERO birthday boys. We are so glad you were born!

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a bargain

I’ve never hidden the fact I love a bargain. There isn’t much more fun than getting a deal. Mauri and I celebrate our birthdays at Benihana’s because we get a free $30 meal every year. (We also love Benihana’s and just returned from using his birthday club certificate there!) I prefer shopping at Goodwill for clothes and whatever other treasures I find there. I try to time my grocery purchases for Tuesdays when Nap’s offers a senior discount. I wait until Shutterfly offers a 50% discount on photobooks to order whatever project I’ve put together.

It isn’t as though we’ve been reckless with our money and can’t afford to buy new clothes or pay full price for food or just buy photobooks outright. It’s just that it’s a game to be thrifty. It also feels like good stewardship, and the truth is I don’t really care about money that much. I’m just grateful we have enough.

Last night I smiled as I drove home from the airport thinking about my five-day adventure to Arizona. Earlier this year American Airlines sent me a voucher for $100 off a flight in the coming year. I guess they like us because we use their credit card for most of our purchases. Ready for a visit, I used the voucher and booked round-trip flights for $57! Since I’d be visiting two multiple-car families, I didn’t rent a car. And when I claimed my car at AirPark near PDX, I handed over a fully punched rewards card and got five days of parking for FREE! That’s worth about $50 (with my senior discount, of course).

Of course I smiled because I was heading home to my man. And I remembered boarding the plane and getting a “WE HOME” text from Quinn, signifying that she and Dusty had successfully navigated the process of being released from the hospital and made the drive home. Glory, hallelujah! I was sad only because it didn’t happen in time for me to say a proper goodbye, but then I’ll see them when I return in a week and a half. Yup.

Here’s the requisite photo for this post:

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It illustrates what Dusty did not have. His staph infection had progressed dangerously by the time professionals sent him to the ER, but MRSA would have been far worse and taken much longer to kill. Thank God!

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all things

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Several days ago Quinn posted this picture of her tattoo as reminder without explaining that Dusty was having serious health issues. It’s a reference to Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

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Since we couldn’t help Dusty or Quinn, we decided some retail therapy was in order while we waited for word from Quinn. That’s Randee, Dusty’s mom, in the middle. She and Neil arrived late last night to help out during the next phase—recovery! And as we walked around the mall, Quinn texted the good news that Dusty is stitched up and will (likely) get his walking papers tomorrow. Yay!

I head home tomorrow too.

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have you heard this before?

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Play with that for a minute. I’ll bet you’ve been writing and saying adjectival streams in the right order without ever knowing a correct order existed.

Someday soon I’ll post a picture of our privacy backyard wooden six-foot new beautiful fence. —> Someday soon I’ll post a picture of our beautiful new six-foot backyard wooden privacy fence.

Crazy!

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mixed bag

I booked a flight to Arizona because I hadn’t been down since early May. That’s longer than I like to go without seeing the grandkids, especially the one that changes daily. Of course I like to see their parents too, but you know how that goes. Little did I know that life for the Anderson family would be upheaved due to a health issue. In fact, the day I arrived Dusty had already been admitted to a hospital in Scottsdale for severe pain in his very swollen knee. This was after a full week of agony endured while he and Quinn waited “patiently” (because they were told that was best) while his knee recovered from arthroscopic surgery several weeks ago. I’ll spare the details (not my forté) to simply say my visit could not have been timed more perfectly to look after the home front so Q could give her full attention to Dusty.

Two surgeries have occurred since my arrival, needed to flush out a raging infection. They’re on a break now so Dusty can eat and drink something and to give the four power-antibiotics more time to do their job, and tomorrow a third surgery to finish (that’s the hope) cleaning and closing the thigh-long incision. I hope that wasn’t too graphic; it’s been truly horrific for him, and he’s a tough cookie.

Quinn does better when left alone to navigate the doctors and hospital waiting (she’s too much like me, I’m afraid), so we occupied ourselves between her updates by going to church and hanging out at home.

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Declan was a bored to sleep by the sermon.

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At home and awake, perfectly charming and charmed by his cousin Marissa.

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He wasn’t afraid of me (a stranger who says Hi Bumps to him in a high voice on Facetime) and let me follow his busy-boy-body around the room on hands and knees. To be clear, it was Declan on hands and knees.

Cassidy looked so cute in her black-and-white striped dress at church, but I didn’t get a picture. I’m no kind of photographer at all if I can’t even ask her for a quick pose. Thankfully you’ve just seen her at her birthday party, so I won’t beat myself up too severely.

Dusty’s parents are flying down from Seattle tonight, and our visits will overlap a day before I head home on Wednesday. I was given some bonus days off work the first week of October, so I booked more flights to return to spend more days with the Carlsons at their new home in Buckeye (Verrado). It’s convenient having two Carlson “kids” in Arizona. (Still working on convincing Ben, though he thinks it’s a nice place to visit in winter.)

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moles

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We have a serious mole problem in our backyard.

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They’ve invaded our front yard too!

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What a mess!

We didn’t know what we were going to do with our mole problem.

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Then we looked outside and found the culprit at just about the same time we remembered …

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… we hired these guys to put in a watering system.

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Here’s a closeup of our mole. We hope they manage to get everything put back together before the rainy season comes and makes our watering system moot.

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