Summer Summaries 2019

I love how Google photos digs through thousands of images and finds the perfect ones to highlight special events in small videos. Here are Google’s summaries of our late July/early August blessings:

Wedding Weekend Summary from July
Family and Grandgirl Stuff from August

Team Meetup

Our First Granddaughter is Born

Grandpa and Avalon

Last Thursday Lauren and CJ gave birth to a beautiful baby girl (our first grandchild) named Avalon Kristine. I’ve been meaning to write this for a week, but ironically and beautifully, when I’ve had time, my arms have been full of baby so the write-up was put off. I mentioned that to Lauren’s mom, and she brilliantly responded:

Holding is better than writing for now… Can write when you can’t hold… Besides enjoy her in these moments because she is changing rapidly

~Lauren’s mom

I got to hold the wee one most of yesterday. Today is her turn, so I finally get to write.

Avalon entered the world like a pro — inconveniencing nobody greatly. Remember, just two weeks ago her intrepid mama was climbing the rocks in Moab at Zeb and Bri’s wedding? We are thankful Avalon didn’t decide to arrive during that occasion.

Instead, on a morning when I set my alarm for 8:50 am, I received a phone call at 8:45 telling me this was the day. CJ and Lauren headed to the hospital slightly pre-dawn, not totally sure it was the real deal, but by the time they called us, they knew it was. Look how beautiful the day was:

Back when I was in labor eons ago, I really appreciated people playing games with me to keep my mind off the pain. Lauren wanted that, too, so I headed to the hospital for some serious UNO rounds. On the way, Bri got in touch with us and said she was leaving work to help us out and be there with Lauren.

But let me back up a bit — cuz it’s kind of cool. In my job as a Happiness Engineer at Automattic, we get a lot of flexibility, but sometimes not spontaneity. That’s a change that occurred after I got hired, and I understand why since the company is growing, but it takes a bit of getting used to, and I was not sure how it would play out in the baby scene.

I had already knocked my work-week to four 10-hr days so I could have three days a week to be with the young ones. But during my regular days, I was assigned concierge sessions, tickets, and live chat hours. My ticket hours are flexible, but the concierge sessions and live chat hours are not flexible. After talking to HR, everyone was on the same page. Whenever the baby showed, I would request a last-minute-AFK (away from keyboard), and my team lead and others would find people to take sessions I was signed up for.

But we didn’t need to. The day before Avalon arrived, I was asked to help the mobile support team since some of their people were on vacation. I ADORE mobile support, and had done that for a few years in the past. Best of all, working on that team is like working in tickets — totally flexible. I was asked to cover the queues from (unbeknownst to anyone at the time) the day before labor to a week later when I was already taking time off. This allowed me a seriously flexible schedule so I could keep working when Lauren and CJ were resting and around baby feedings and nap times for the first week. Isn’t God amazing with timing? Even the little details…

Anyway, back to the story. We played UNO for quite a while.

Zeb and Bri showed up and took over the game playing so I could work a bit and Lauren was still distracted until the pains got a bit worse. Time was ticking, and Lauren was progressing really well. She’s a private soul so when she hit real labor, we all left until after baby. Zeb was at work by then, and Bri, Chris and I hung out.

Avalon arrived right before Zeb’s work shift ended so we were all able to visit together, along with Lauren’s sisters who are living in Utah this summer. On the way, we grabbed some food Lauren requested. I snapped a pic on the way back to the hospital. This is the sky our beautiful Avalon was born under. Not bad, eh?

Grandma, Grandpa, aunts, uncle… so much joy.

CJ insists he is not an overly protective father, but just look at him with the hand sanitizer!!! And this was after he made us all wash thoroughly at the sink 🙂

I particularly loved seeing Grandpa Chris step in to hold his granddaughter.

Avalon even got to meet the newly engaged aunt/uncle Mollie and Hudi over Facetime (they had to go back to NY for work after the wedding), but stayed up until after midnight to meet their neice.

The next day I got to hold Avalon so her parents could rest a bit. Yeah, I grabbed a selfie. :blush:

This hospital was amazing. I’ve never seen care quite so good. Every nurse and doctor acted like they genuinely cared, and they took time to explain every little detail of what was going on to the new parents. They trickled information out when it was necessary to know so it wasn’t all too overwhelming. And best yet, every single person looked like their job was the best on the planet. What an amazing vibe.

The nurse, Heather, who taught the young adults how to bathe the baby was particularly wonderful. Just look at her smile… And isn’t Avalon funny as she tries to eat CJ’s knuckle?

The next day Avalon went home with everyone. And now I have a work buddy:

She even attended my team meeting with me which, according to all the oohs and aaahs, was appreciated by my teammates.

Now we are settling into life as we now know it. Lauren’s mom flew to Utah to be with them, and sometimes CJ and Lauren come to our place for a bit of grandparent time and a nap.

The dog in our rental seems to appreciate the family vibe as well. It’s so adorable. But she runs away when Avalon cries. I think that giant is scared of our pipsqueak 🙂

It’s not all about the baby, though. One evening we left Lauren and the baby at home, and CJ took us all to Deer Valley, where he and Lauren (and her sisters) work. They showed Lauren’s mom around, and she took her first-ever chairlift ride 🙂

Chris and I saw our first deer at Deer Valley from the lift. That was fun.

At the top, we saw some great views, and Mehgan showed us how to hunt for crystals like she does with the kids in her care in summer camp.

Lauren's mom's first chairlift ride.
Getting off the lift.

Avalon is trying to get used to the world. Her nights and days are switched, which is a bit hard on everyone, especially her parents (CJ had to go back to work). But with sisters, grandparents, uncles, etc. — lots of teamwork — I’m sure all will be great soon, and a rhythm will be established.

She seems to change moment to moment. I thought she looked particularly adorable after her bath. What an ostrich head!

Lauren thinks her hair is starting to change color and look like CJ’s. She might be right.

She seems to have her Grandpa Campbell’s ears (he will be visiting next week), my toes, and Chris’ head shape. Genetics are so wild. I kind of hope she ends up with her momma’s/grandma’s hair color at the end of it all, but no matter how she looks, we adore her.

And seriously, this girl is so incredibly loved. Who could ask for more? #soblessed