plus two

“It’s GO time!”

I’d kept my phone’s ringer in the “on” position ever since contractions were detected at a routine appointment several weeks ago. I’d just returned from two weeks in Arizona with the Carlsons, watching Beth’s baby bump increase in size. The babies’ due date was August 20, but docs determined a good and safe arrival date would be July 31 and scheduled a C-section. But babies come when they think the time is right, and Beth was aware her contractions were ramping up. Taylor called to say it’s go time!

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Home base was covered with Declan’s grandpa “Moose” at the helm, so everyone was cool enough to pose for this family shot before heading to the hospital.

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Taylor kept his siblings and me updated as the fun continued. He and Beth had been well informed about what to expect, so it was just a matter of following the steps.

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Beth, cucumber cool, chats with her mom and sisters in Virginia as she waits for the OR to be prepped.

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And just like that, Avery (“Ava”) Harper and Emery (“Emma”) Capri Carlson entered the world.

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A while later Moose showed up with Declan to meet the new arrivals.

Declan says Baby

Declan said “baby” for the first time. I could hear it with my own ears as I watched the video.

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Dusty and Quinn know mOm needs pictures! So they sent this one and others of their visit to the hospital. And, bless his heart, Taylor obliged my photo need with a dropbox full of shots of the operating room scene, fresh-born babes held high by the doctor so the new parents could see (and photograph) over the barrier.

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Trish, Beth’s mom, a.k.a. Mimi, flew in from Virginia the day after the birth and immediately dressed the girls to be photo-ready. They’re easy to tell apart because Avery weighed in at 6 lb 3 oz, while Emery weighed 4 lb 14 oz. Though extra small, born one month early, neither girl has cause for NICU attention. PTL!

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Already the parents assign or claim certain physical attributes. Avery has Taylor’s ears and cheeks and looks the most like Declan. And if foot size indicates future height, both girls will be tall!

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This grandma “Gus” looks at these sweet girls and sees perfection.

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At the risk of oversharing, I will include these three shots by the hospital photographer. What mom can resist including pictures of her son’s hands cradling his newborn daughters? For sure not this mOm!

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The first one was Emery and this one Ava.

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Declan will soon understand the full meaning of “baby sisters.” Oh, yes he will!

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no photo

The brilliant colors pulled my attention toward the upstairs window——blue, red, yellow——five hot-air balloons at varying distances, all visible between the U-shaped opening in the neighborhood trees across our backyard. This time of year a single balloon is a fairly common sight, though one can hardly move on without giving it at least a short audience. But five all at the same time!

No pressing matter so early in the morning called me away, so I indulged in a longer gander at this small phenomenon. I wondered if I might have time to scoot down the stairs for a camera or a phone. While I debated the pros and cons, a sudden change turned my attention back to the scene. Emerging from the treetops I watched a large yellow orb, much closer than the others, rise quickly to join the backdrop. Six! Surely six balloons all visible in that small opening merited a photograph! But my feet didn’t move, confirming the debate result.

But you might need to see it; you might want to appreciate this unusual moment in time. And how would I ever remember this inspiring moment without a picture?

This happened three days ago. I still recall it. Vividly. Without a photo.

But will I remember it tomorrow?

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the end and the beginning

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The end of my visit with Taylor, Beth, and Declan included an early birthday dinner (out) and some backyard fireworks that were just the right amount of exciting. It was low key enough that Declan could enter in without trauma.

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Early the next morning Taylor flew to Hawaii for work and Declan and I accompanied Beth at her ultrasound appointment where I got to meet my two newest granddaughters and see/hear their strong heartbeats.

The following morning I flew home to resume my good life with Mr. Macy.

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The first day of my 73rd year of life began with an email from friend Gail who said these thoughts flit through her brain as well. I’m not prone to worry, but this is a good reminder about what’s important in life at age 72.

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An hour or so later I opened this gift from Mauri. Note the author!

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In Arizona we talked quite a bit about names for the twins and about the origin of our own names. This gift was wrapped by my sister, Carol. She carries our mother’s name, Winifred, as her middle. My brother was given our dad’s name, Carl. And I, the baby of the family, was named for Jesus (Rose of Sharon).

Too bad I nicknamed myself in junior high and gave up that beautiful name—for a wine.

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early 4th

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We’ll begin with this pan of cubed pork belly. Taylor tasted some a few weeks back prepared by his brother-in-law Ryan in Austin, TX, and the plan rapidly came together.

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The radiant mama-to-be-again after church (mass). We got to stay all the way to the final hymn because Taylor stayed home with Declan.

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He had some work to do with company coming.

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Yum! These were awesome. My son cooks!

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Only this one shot of the pool antics. I wish there was some way to fully describe the pleasant Arizona air and the atmosphere with easy adults and likable kids —— Nirvana!

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Meet Gary and Haley and their nephew and niece Rhys and JoJo. And Taylor.

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Gary and Taylor have matured some since the days they were buddies back in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the ’80s/’90s. I liked them back then, but I like them a whole lot more now.

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helping hands

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Taylor Facetimed me a week ago today, and an hour later I was telling my coworkers I needed to take a leave of absence to come down to AZ to lend my hands with 22-month-old Declan while Beth takes it easy and Taylor travels.

Do you have or have you had a pre-two-year-old in your life. Sometimes they’re headstrong littles whirlwinds and other times they’re still cuddly babies. Declan is no exception—though, of course, he’s an exceptional child. Just ask his daddy!

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With a backyard pool, you can be sure these parents are seeing to it their boy becomes waterproof.

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Declan makes his wishes known with a small collection of words: “Color!”

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I want to know why washable markers weren’t invented 50 years ago. They put a man on the moon . . .

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Here Declan is getting to know his sisters, at least their essence with a bump now and then.

So that’s the essence of my week. My mission for a time. I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.

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pink hair

My days and evenings this week have been made up of meetings and work and little else except eating and sleeping. It’s all for a good cause. I’ll get my life back eventually. And eventually I’ll explain what’s kept me crazy busy the past several months. So to let you know we Macys are still kickin’ I get to share this fun image.

azalea hair

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sunday day of rest?

Since Mauri’s retirement, Sundays most often are days of rest. But yesterday turned into a non-stopper beginning with a lovely drive to Marion, Oregon, an hour south of home.

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We have a bad habit of leaving way too early, which causes us to arrive way too early. So we reached our destination in time for our pick of parking places around this small church pastored by our good friend Bill Pruitt. Mauri has known Bill and Faye since college, which means I’ve known them for nearly 23 years. In 2002 Faye preceded me in my position in the NFC office.

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Bill and Faye have made music together for many years, but they took a break from leading worship at Marion Friends Church, where Bill has served as pastor for more than seven years, to invite Mauri to lead.

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Sitting near the front means I allow myself only one quick snapshot.

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Bill is a bi-vocational pastor, so he and Faye travel down from their home in Newberg every weekend and stay in the church’s comfortable next-door parsonage. Mauri got acquainted with Kibble, who sent me a message with her tongue.

The Pruitts took us out for Chinese food, then we headed home a different way to see different sights. Have I ever mentioned the beauty that surrounds us everywhere we go?

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Then on to our next event—an open house for high school graduating friend Gabe, who honored each of us with a welcoming hug. That’s Gabe’s dad in the red plaid shirt. You can see the interest captured by Michael’s solid mahogany (I think that’s what I heard) electric guitar.

NFC Brass circa 1996ish

Michael has played French horn in NFC Brass /now Newberg Brass for many years (circa 1996) and shows up for rehearsal at our studio every Tuesday after work.

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Back at home (whew, we survived another social event!) we warmed our leftovers from lunch and reminded the dog she doesn’t live alone before heading down the street to NFC’s business meeting. Once again, I allowed myself one solitary snap.

Do you remember back in March when I posted a short story about the “split” NFC was about to experience? I described the process we faced and presumed an outcome would be reportable on May 7.

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I’ve displayed this plaque near my office desk to speak what’s on my mind for a long time but even more so these days of late. I’ll share more when the situation is resolved but for now will simply express my relief and gratitude that I’m not left to myself in wondering how we got to this place of division.

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