a week in arizona

I’ve just returned from my week with the Carlsons. Taylor and Beth are holding up remarkably well with the addition of two tiny babies to their family: calm, cool, and collected, a bit sleep deprived but blessed with sweet mild-mannered daughters. Of course I fell instantly in love with Avery and Emery; so much sweetness in eleven collective pounds is almost unbearable. I was so happy to participate in their care, though that mostly falls on the mama, who nurses both of them.

My biggest contribution was playing with two-year-old (in two weeks) Declan.

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He learns new words every day and puts them to use often. “Car” and “vrrrroooom” go together.

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He had almost-daily invitations to join one or two parents in the “puel.” I don’t mean to brag, but does your grandson walk on water?

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A little fish, I’d say.

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Taylor shared this two-parent production from their under-water camera.

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Jumping in has recently been added to his bag of tricks.

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Aunt Quinn made a surprise appearance my first night. She’s been launching or preparing to launch her three: first Cassidy to 8th grade, a day or two after this picture came Bailey’s departure to his junior year at Dordt, and in a week will be Marissa to her freshman year at Grand Canyon University.

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This gives perspective to the size of the handful babies.

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The sleeping beauties in their dockAtots.

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Practicing for future squabbles.

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Avery (she’s the oldest).

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Emery (she’s the smallest). Their bone structure is the same, so in all probability Emery will catch up to Avery in size.

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Can you tell them apart? (This is Emery.) The difference in size makes it easy when they’re together. I use other identifiers when there’s only one. Ears, for one. This little peanut has big eyes and very long fingers.

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Avery has chunky cheeks. And oh just looking at these pictures as I post them makes me miss the little loves.

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I even miss this task! You can’t quite imagine how many of these get changed every day.

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So yesterday Beth’s sister Tara flew in from Virginia to help for a week. Taylor travels for work and Beth isn’t quite ready to go solo with the 24/7 care. Knowing I was heading home, they all indulged my need for pictures.

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One with Gus!

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And one with big brother! Oh my heart.

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And since everyone was dressed for pictures, we decided to go out for lunch at a local Verrado restaurant. . .

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…where the babies slept blissfully, giving all a bit of normalcy before heading home for the next feeding.

A day at a time, that’s the approach, and these “kids” are going to do just fine with all their kids.

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PS: Declan is hard to capture with a smile, so I feel compelled to share this shot of my little buddy.

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pivotal point in time

If you’re Quinn’s friend on Facebook you’ve probably already seen this grouping that illustrates a pivotal point in time for Cassidy.

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Here’s what she wrote: “This is such a season of firsts, lasts, and all the joys in between. Flashback to C’s first ever day of school. So thrilled to finally be with ‘her kids’ during the day. Today’s her first day of school flying solo. Life is nuts. And it sure is good.”

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Here’s our Cassidy heading into 8th grade. Soon to be 14! Fourteen!

Her “flying solo” happens because Marissa is starting college. College! And Bailey will be a college upper classman!

I imagine this makes their parents feel old.

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twenty-three

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That man on the right. I married him 23 years ago today! He played his guitar that day too . . .

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. . . with a different son. This morning at Newberg Friends with John; at our wedding reception with Pete.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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family day at champoeg

For lots of years we local Macys (plus others related but with different last names) enjoyed family dinner once a month. Here’s a post from a family dinner in 2009. We have great memories from those years, but all good things have a season and the season for family dinner ended last year. As we “laid it down” we all thought it would be good to meet this summer for some fun at our local state park, Champoeg, pronounced “Shampooie.” Yup.

In January I had my pick of the day camp sites. It pays to plan ahead.

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Without knowing it, I picked the very best one!

It’s also the weekend of Old Fashioned Festival, when the entire town of Newberg floods our neighborhood. Gridlock was happening right on our corner at 9 a.m. because people were already arriving for the parade. We were eager to get out of there!

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So you can understand why we were thankful for this very pleasant place to be.

As an aside, we have learned to make lemonade out of the lemon of having our peaceful neighborhood overtaken by the crowds one weekend a year. Food! Lots of food vendors set up in the park one block from home. And we take full advantage. Let’s see: we’ve already enjoyed three meals from the park (we carry it home to eat in familiar comfort) and we were just wondering together what we’ll choose for dinner tonight.

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You can probably recognize the kids whose faces frequent the pages of this blog, but the one smiling at me is Katie, our niece’s daughter. She’s her mom’s mini-me!

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Mauri carried the weight of shopper/patty-maker/griller and John added his expertise at the pit.

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Lincoln slept through lunch.

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But don’t worry, his mama made sure he got a plate.

Remember this?

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Well, here they are again, all in one contemporary picture. Two sets of Macy brothers.

They were about to face up for a game of ladderball.

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I drew an arrow to show you where to look for the ball in the air. It wound around the top rung!

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The Macy cousins (including Oscar) spend much time together and enjoy close friendship.

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Time to sort the Old Fashioned Festival parade candy.

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Now (after the adults take a few) each kid chooses his/her favorite five pieces. Then another five. It’s quite an intentional process!

We now anticipate what happens next: dinner and then fireworks! Best of all, we can watch them from our own cookin’-room chairs over the top of the neighbors’ roof.

Lemonade!

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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.

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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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