our family is expanding

You might think from the title of this post that another grandchild is on his/her way.

Actually, that is true! Last night Bailey asked Sarah to be his wife, and she said YES!

Their attraction began right under our noses while our families built a home together last Thanksgiving.


Bailey and his friend Seth played football together at Gilbert Christian High School, and he’d spent time at the Lanzel home over the years. Seth also went to college with Bailey their sophomore year and had built with B in Juarez more than one June.


So our Thanksgiving build was a great opportunity to include his dad and two sisters!


Bailey had his sisters along too, of course. Convenient, right?


We’ll likely all think back to this build with special fondness, given what was happening in the air.


Maybe Randee, Bailey’s other grandma, sensed something.


Hmmmmm, I notice now, Bailey lingering nearby, playing it cool.

Screenshot 2018-07-10 12.49.29

Of course, NOW——knowing what we know——it’s fun to examine this half of the team picture! Sarah’s sister, Ashley, between Erin and Cassidy; Seth above Cass; Sarah next to Maris; their dad, Chuck, above her.

Fast forward . . .

Bailey flew back to Dordt College to finish out his first semester, then home again for Christmas break. Already the story was unfolding, and we got a glimpse of the budding romance when we returned to Arizona to spend Christmas with our Carlson clan.

Then just like that Bailey was on a plane to spend his spring semester in Spain. But you know what they say about what absence does to the heart.


Sarah took some time away from her studies at Midwestern University (working toward a master’s degree in occupational therapy) to visit Bailey. If that tells you anything.

Screenshot 2018-07-09 09.39.17

And just before the family went on this epic cruise to Belize, Honduras, and Cozumel, Bailey shopped for a ring.

He already had his plan formed, and wasted not a moment to execute it——with his sisters’ help. (Don’t you love that?)


She said yes!


(Fine camera work by Marissa. Videographer: Cassidy)


It fits!


Worth a kiss . . .


She loves it.


Up close.


From the “looks” of things, they like each other.


Now let’s talk to those conspiring sisters of yours, Bailey!


Guilty as charged!

Screenshot 2018-07-10 08.30.51

The rest of the story is yet to be written. Stay tuned . . .

Posted in family matters, grandkids | 2 Comments


Last Sunday our church welcomed a new pastor. My love of the camaraderie in a group effort led me to accept the task of planning and overseeing a welcome picnic on the lawn after the morning service. I recruited lots of help, making it extra fun. One of the highlights was creating a photo booth with the Fourth of July theme. I pulled out a big flag I keep stored away to use as the backdrop and visited the local Dollar Tree to find dress-up fun. I recruited a volunteer to shoot the pictures, and she did a great job.

Here are two office volunteers and their husbands, among the many photos taken in the booth.



Quite a few booth visitors expressed curiosity about the flag, and I told them it was the backdrop for a photo taken of my first husband, Paul, when he was a little boy.

PWC and flag

Later, when I found the picture, I realized my mistake! Comparing the photos I could see the star configuration did not match. In Friday’s newsletter, I shared a link to the “book” I made of all the photos but also had to issue a correction for those who asked about the flag.

My friend Carolyn noticed the correction and sent me a note saying:

“You got me curious…. the flag in your picture (is the cute one you?) is the 48 star flag we grew up with that was good from 1912 to 1959.

There was one year with 49 stars (7 rows of 7 stars each) in 1959-1960 when Alaska had become a state but not Hawaii.

Now the flag is like the one in your picture backdrop, which was made in 1960 and later with 9 rows of stars alternating between 6 and 5 for our 50 states.

Did you know there have been 21 versions of our flag since 1777 starting with 13 stars and changing as new states were added. They have all had 13 stripes except for the one from 1795 -1818, which had 15 stars in 5 rows of 3 each and 15 stripes.

Now how is that for useless trivia?”

Posted in in the neighborhood, nostalgia | Leave a comment


One reason, or I should say eleven reasons, I look forward to retiring the end of September is/are my eleven grandchildren. While I admit I’m not the “cool” grandma I aspired to be, I still enjoy the thought of being more connected to them when my life is a bit freer. I also hope to be more faithful to this blog, by the way, if I remember how.

For fun, I’m about to share recent pictures of all eleven. Each one is exceptional in my eyes, of course. You can interpret that two ways, and both would be correct.


The Anderson three (Bailey, Marissa, and Cassidy plus parents) about to start a weeklong cruise south of the border.

Screenshot 2018-07-05 21.07.00

Oscar, heading toward fourth grade in the fall.

Screenshot 2018-07-05 21.02.58

Sage and Brynn, like to play Cootie. I do too!

Will and Lincoln

Will and Lincoln at the Tilikum 4th of July Fun Run.




In birth order: Declan, Avery, Emery, decked out for their July 4 celebration.



Posted in grandkids | Leave a comment

the ocean remembers

Today marks three years since our Rachel died. Memories of the hard stuff have started to fade and the good stuff has begun to stand out. Mauri and I were invited to join the whole Macy clan at Harbor Villa yesterday, the place in Rockaway Beach that holds years of happy memories and was a favorite for Rachel. Mauri’s brother, Howard, and his immediate family had already enjoyed a whole week together there, while our kids and their kids camped all week farther down the coast in one of their favorite spots in Manzanita.

2018-06-22 18.32.50


2018-06-22 15.21.37

It was a gorgeous day, as you can see, and I enjoyed a power walk on the beach.


Mauri had his camera aimed at me as I surfaced.

2018-06-22 17.16.14

Rachel didn’t want to miss any of this, but John is an intentional dad and Oscar is doing well. Heading toward fourth grade in the fall.

2018-06-22 16.43.29

Nate (Howard and Margi’s son) and Amy were the dinner preparers. You can see he brought his pizza oven from home for the occasion. Amy rolls the dough and Nate bakes it for 10 seconds on each side.

2018-06-22 17.48.17

Inside we loaded up our individual crusts with our favorite toppings, then Nate baked it (again). Delicious! We have one of those ovens at home too. I imagine we’ll be pulling it out again one of these days.

2018-06-22 18.29.48

Cousins John and Hannah do some clean up.


Erin cuddles a sleepy one.

2018-06-22 14.29.27

The Brothers Macy.

2018-06-22 18.30.24-1

Pete behind roses from our garden.

The day was altogether lovely.

Posted in family matters | 2 Comments

celebrating family

I’m in Arizona on a quick trip for a specific celebration. But when I made the arrangements to take time off work, I didn’t realize I’d be here for Fathers Day too! So I’ve enjoyed two celebrations for the price of one!

2018-06-16 17.08.00

Quinn and I drove down to beautiful Oro Valley to the home of cousin Aneta’s daughter Stephanie, arriving at the appointed time with the aid of her smart phone. I’d read about the forecast thunderstorms and carried an umbrella all the way from Oregon in order to be prepared, like any Boy Scout would.

2018-06-16 17.29.06

Though it threatened with wind and a few drops of liquid sunshine, no tears were shed over a ruined party due to weather. Instead the cloud cover cooled the desert and made it ideal weather for an outdoor celebration.

2018-06-16 17.28.54

2018-06-16 17.29.46

Stephanie (along with her husband, Jason, and children, Faith and Christian) did a lovely job of hosting us with a delicious meal and space to visit. I was occupied with living in the moment and didn’t do the best job of photographing the event. But you’ll get the idea.

1957-Christmas at Gordon's in Kokomo IN

You know how it is with cousins. So much shared history to go along with all those stories that hang on the family tree! In this photo of our LeMasters clan, I’m down front holding a Brownie camera, and my cousin Aneta, only three months behind me in age, is next to me. I won’t name each one but I’ll point out cousin Dave, four years our senior and in full height in the back. My sister, Carol, is front left.

2018-06-16 17.32.14

I named those three in particular so you can better appreciate the 2018 version of cousin Dave, here with Quinn. He and Sue traveled from Kokomo, Indiana, for the party.

2018-06-16 20.35.31-1

And here, the 2018 version of Dave’s wife, Sue (left), sister Carol (center), and Aneta.


Also for fun and perspective, here’s a photo from a visit to our home in North Carolina in the early 1980s of Aneta and Kent (before their kids came along).

2018-06-16 18.13.58

2018-06-16 19.14.59-1

Here they are with their girls, Stephanie and Carrie.

2018-06-18 08.42.00

Here’s everyone in attendance. You’ll see Stephanie and Jason on the far right, their kids kneeling in front with Landry (Carrie and Randy’s daughter), whose sister, Whitney, is sitting on her daddy’s knee. Find Carol and her husband, Bill, next to Stephanie.

2018-06-16 17.37.14

I threw away most of my casual shots, but this one shows Bill’s feet. Carol was mortified he had to show up at the party in his driving shoes because they walked out the door at home in Yorba Linda, CA, inadvertently leaving his dress-up shoes behind.

Such a loving sister I am. Right?

2018-06-16 17.40.10

I was so happy Quinn could get in on the fun of reconnecting with family and meeting the newest additions.

Meanwhile, back at the Anderson ranch . . .

2018-06-15 14.52.12

You’ve already been introduced to Issy Bear, but she has matured since we met her last November.

2018-06-14 19.49.50

She enjoys morning and evening walks around the neighborhood block, and I tagged along for two of those expeditions.

2018-06-14 19.52.30

Apparently she is quite predictable. Dusty foreshadowed each detour she would make to chase the bunnies along the way, when she would shift off the curb to the street and hop back on, and at what point closer to home she would “insist” they turn right rather than head in.

2018-06-14 20.00.20

100 degrees at 8 p.m. is remarkably pleasant outside,

2018-06-14 20.02.41

but this little girl was ready to splay her body parts on the cool tile floor to recover.

2018-06-15 13.00.47

Summer means summer jobs for the two college students. Quinn and I drove to Scottsdale to enjoy lunch where Marissa works.

2018-06-15 13.03.03

She drives a long way to/from work because this is the job she had while in school at Grand Canyon University. We hope she’ll be able to transfer to the ChopShop a few miles from home.

2018-06-15 14.52.00

We behaved ourselves and didn’t distract her (though she waved her awareness) but couldn’t resist choosing a high table that faced the activity hub.

Cass B-ball

My visit also opened the opportunity to cheer for Cassidy at three games of “June ball.” I’m sure it isn’t grandparently pride that sees a very strong player with lots of potential. She’ll play JV as a freshman next year at Gilbert Christian High School. (See her on the left?)

2018-06-17 13.28.50-1

I didn’t follow Bailey to his summer job, but he’s also gainfully employed at Shamrock Farms warehouse. But he’d rather talk about Sarah anyway. They are some of Cupid’s finest work.

2018-06-17 12.15.18

Not one of us would consider skipping church on Fathers Day or any other Sunday. (This is one of my favorite “poses,” though it’s usually walking to church rather than to the car. Some day I’ll collect them as a series.) Dusty is pointing out the progress on the new church construction, Phase I.

2018-06-17 14.07.14

Fathers Day dinner — a shrimp boil at home. What could be better?

2018-06-17 14.58.25

Tummy’s full, we lingered at the table to tell/hear “dad” stories.

2018-06-17 13.21.00

After card and gift opening, the two honored dads got comfortable for some golf viewing.

2018-06-17 17.29.23

Issy got comfortable too on Guh’s lap.

2018-06-17 21.11.57

She is adored in no small measure by her people.

2018-06-17 13.36.17

Raves and appreciation for the peanut butter pie (not pictured)!

As the senior Andersons headed to the door after golf, I invited myself to see their new house. They have made Arizona their permanent home, moving down from the Seattle area only months ago. So we made a plan for the following day.

2018-06-18 12.40.37

2018-06-18 12.37.17

2018-06-18 11.29.13

Quinn drove us the short distance in Arizona style (top off, AC blowing) to Neil and Randee’s beautiful new abode. I’m just so happy for their decision to move south and enjoy the rest of their retirement years in such a lovely environment. So far they’re loving it (and the close proximity to “the kids”)!

2018-06-18 12.37.01

2018-06-18 08.13.30

This final photo represents the level of spoiling I received. Every morning when I surfaced from a longer-than-usual night’s sleep, one of these awaited me on the kitchen counter. Thanks for the lovely time, dear Andersons.

Posted in family matters, nostalgia | Leave a comment

family celebration

We took a little drive toward Portland on Sunday for a birthday celebration for our grand nephew, son of Derin and Andra. It rained much of the time, but that didn’t stop the crowd of 50 or 60 from enjoying some good BBQ and reconnection with these dear ones.

Screenshot 2018-06-11 07.28.36

I’ll start with this family shot posted by one or the other on Instagram. The rest are just a few snaps from my own phone.

2018-06-10 16.19.49

2018-06-10 16.20.51

2018-06-10 16.24.49-1

Andra’s mom has her turn with the birthday boy.

2018-06-10 16.22.57

Then Derin’s mom.

2018-06-10 16.21.30-1

And of course Grandpa! Check out the photobomber.

2018-06-10 17.17.59

First cupcake!

2018-06-10 17.19.20

First birthday!

2018-06-10 17.20.06-2

One year old!

Posted in family matters, in the neighborhood | 2 Comments

#oneadaymay – week five plus mmm

As promised . . . (I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath)


May 29 — “How many have eight people pose for a picture of their honeymoon? #oneadaymay #seizetheday #twohoneymoons #onewithkidsonewithout”


May 30 — “The mail brought a four-page hand-written letter from an old friend. #oneadaymay #ohthejoy”


May 31 — “I finished out my work day with a surprise visit from my former boss of 14 years. He and his wife brought their newborn daughter to Mauri’s and my Oregon wedding reception, and in July, 24 years later, they will watch that same daughter marry and move to Florida. Life. #oneadaymay #finale”

And now my picks from Mauri’s #oneadaymay. Ready?


“#oneadaymay #peoplewouldpaymoneyforthis #foodagainsorry” [He’s a man of few written words.]


“#oneadaymay #oneoftheseisnotliketheothers”


“#oneadaymay #everymonday #handbells…such fun for nearly thirty years”


“#oneadaymay #pianostewardandris #happysteinway”


“#oneadaymay #appleseedsjohnny”


“#oneadaymay #moreroses #iremember”


“#oneadaymay #lastday…thanks. you’ve put a little more spring in my step these days. now…back to – you know.”

Posted in in the neighborhood, this and that | Leave a comment