life, continued

Last week we left off with a glimpse of our glorious fall color display. This week we will begin with a glimpse of the reality.

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We might pay dearly for year-round lawn service, but this is the week we appreciate their work more than any other. Our maple tree fully sheds its glory in one week. Mauri just ordered a “roof brush” and a 20-foot extension to reach what isn’t considered “lawn.”

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Meanwhile, around the back, progress continues.

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Keith and Derric are both daddies of daughters; Keith expects a call any time to hear another daughter is about to make her entrance.

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Building a deck on a very old house that needs an opening to the crawl space and an angle to accommodate the new lawn and sprinkler system added less than a year ago and some rot repair under the house from an unflashed door install years ago and managing a design than meets code (breath) all add to the challenge of this small/large project.

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But we’re going to LOVE that we chose Trex over wood.


Being in the middle of a deck build ourselves made us particularly interested in the deck of the house we toured this morning via FaceTime with Beth. The Carlsons are in the purchase process of this home in Haymarket, Virginia, (Dominion Valley, to be exact), and it turned out Beth could walk us through the whole house with her phone at the same time Taylor was seeing it for the first time.


Of course he had seen it via pictures, and the two had shopped together to discover the floor plan they both liked.


There’s a longer story of course, but they got a cash offer on their house in Arizona, and it closed just as the movers were packing up their house (under Taylor’s supervision) and loading the truck.


After an overnight with Quinn, Dusty, and Cassidy, he flew to Pennsylvania for several days of brush-up training before heading down to Beth and the kiddos, who are living these days with her parents!


And while all of this is happening, Beth is working with a Realtor to help her find this house. I’ve been showing you only pictures of the deck and the very intriguing “man cave” that quickly turned into the “family cave.”

This abbreviated story will give you a peek into the speedy progression of the Carlson move from Arizona to Virginia. I call it “divide and conquer”! Beth managed her part while looking after three babies, and Taylor managed his part while continuing to work and travel.

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In order for Declan to not get lost in the shuffle, Beth (or her dad) takes him to morning preschool for socialization.

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The school sends parents photos throughout the morning and Beth passes some along to me. (She knows how much I depend on pictures to keep up with her ever-changing children.) I can’t help but notice the sense of order in each one. Imagine a circle of chairs holding two-year-olds, having them listen to instructions and raising hands for attention! Can you find Declan? He looks very happy to be there with his new friends.


It made me especially happy to see these two on their first date night for a very long time. Whew!

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Meanwhile this little guy, who isn’t yet two, got dressed in his dragon costume to go trick or treating last Tuesday night.

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Big brother dressed as Catboy. We were invited to see all five of the local grands in their Halloween finery, but we had to leave before the others arrived. Thankfully, friend Rachelle offered to send me pictures.


Can you find Waldo? He’s standing next to the ninja.


Here’s the whole crew!


Brynn (Moana) and Sage’s (mermaid) costumes might have been influenced by their trip to Hawaii last May. It was a trip with their whole family, not connected so much by blood as by relationship. And one reason they all made the trip together was to celebrate their 40th birthdays.


Today we spent a few minutes with this girl, who turned 40 today! Happy birthday, Linsey!

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Otherwise, we had a fairly normal Saturday. But a highlight was checking my turn in Scrabble to find Judy had played the word Nill. This has particular significance to me because it is my maiden name! I have worn a necklace for many years that spells out my initials: SENCM. The first three letters represent the first twenty years of my life as Sharon Elaine Nill.

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This highlight led right into my lowlight for the day: giving myself a haircut and severing my silver necklace with a too-vigorous stroke of the clippers. It might be the most expensive haircut I’ve ever had.

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But seeing as I’ve been giving haircuts for the past 50 years, starting with Paul in 1966 and continuing to the two heads I worked on today——I think I’ve saved us a small fortune, enough to rationalize the repair needed on today’s misguided snip.

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