With a full heart from my days in Michigan, I loaded my rental car and hit the road—not for the airport but for Virginia to spend a week with my other Carlson son and his family in Haymarket.
It wouldn’t have been a visit to my old stomping grounds without a refresher course in the use of one of these.
Meh. I don’t miss Michigan weather at all! Thankfully, I had to deal only with some leftover snow and a little frost on the windows. But I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to complain about it.
Perfectly located as a halfway stopping place in my travels was Columbus, Ohio, and my cousin Helen Katherine. Our visit was compact, and we took turns showing and telling our stories.
She always has something interesting to show me! I asked her to pose this for Mauri’s sake, since he’s a former ’55 Chevy owner.
My dad and her mom were siblings, so family resemblance can be understood. I only hope my genetics work their magic to make me look so good in ten years when I’m her age.
A good meal and a good night of sleep later I was back on the road. When I asked Google to map my day’s travels I didn’t notice I’d be driving in five states–Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia! I would have enjoyed the seven-hour journey better without the incessant rain and fog patches, but during one of the sunny spells I couldn’t resist taking the exit for . . .
And eventually my navigator said,
“you have reached your destination.”
These two and their mama greeted me at the door. Emery and Avery will be two in July.
Declan and I got right to work getting reacquainted.
My first morning, when Beth headed out to enjoy a kid-free CrossFit workout while Declan was in school, I pulled out these funky balls to entertain the girls. From their expressions you can guess they were a hit.
For at least ten minutes!
The true indicator of my success as a care provider is that the babies were alive when their parents came home. That one standing in the window is part mountain goat. I’m absolutely certain that were she given access to the kitchen, we’d be pulling her down from the refrigerator.
A deer sighting in the backyard.
This joyful boy and I spent the first few days playing “Let’s look for a dinosaur!”—our made-up version of follow the leader. Clothes? Who needs ’em?
Taylor travels a lot for his work with Agilent Technologies, and Beth has become an expert at putting her three littles in their carseats every time she goes somewhere. But she’s always grateful when an extra set of hands can help. I was there to photograph this process because it was Sunday and we were heading . . .
. . . to church!
Am I biased or are they really just as cute from the back as from the front?
Sitting quietly in mass was not their shining moment, but they’ll learn.
The cameraman needs to work fast with this busy crew. Here’s my best attempt at a dressed-for-church family photo.
To honor my visit, the Ambrose clan gathered to share a Sunday meal. From the look on their faces, I think they’re hiding something.
Trish, Beth’s mom, would have hosted the meal at their home, but the Carlsons won out because they have all the kid entertainment.
Also, Taylor doesn’t want to miss an opportunity to smoke a brisket and bacon-wrapped shrimp.
March Madness, y’all—so the TV is on! We’re about to see the halftime extravaganza—Riley and Regan performing their dance-class routine.
With such an adoring audience, they’re bound for stardom!
Patriarchal approval from Moose.
Grinning girlies, one has her fingers crossed.
Beth says we are too cool for school.
By Tuesday we were ready for an outing to Busy Bees.
Get it out of your system, little mountain goat!
Daddy’s turn to give his girls their bath and read them a bedtime story.
Oh, yay, another blocks photo to match up with her daddy . . .
I know—I’m insufferable!
She posed, so what was I going to do? Her sister is just the opposite, does not like the camera, and a smile is out of the question. Unless you catch her by surprise.
This boy is the same, though he’s getting better.
There! By the way, Declan will be four in August.
He was very serious about Easter egg dyeing.
And before I could blink, my week was up! On the way to the airport we met Moose and Mimi at Frying Pan Farm Park, a hop and a skip from their home in Herndon, VA.
We were transported by wagon around the whole park.
We saw (and heard) baby goats,
had a chance to play on farm equipment—well, they did,
counted our chickens after they were hatched,
and were gobbled at by this great big turkey. Being so close to the White House, the tour guide said this is the one pardoned last Thanksgiving.
Really!!??!! Then I need to take a selfie with him since an autograph is probably not an option.
Beth caught me showing him our picture together. (He asked me to email him a copy.)
My memorable finale with the pardoned White House turkey was easily trumped by the family’s traditional white-hanky farewell at the airport. Who wouldn’t adore a daughter-in-law who goes to such lengths to make me happy?