December is always a busy month, so full of extra activities to celebrate Christmas. But this December topped anything ever in the busy department. There was so much going on that I didn't send out Christmas cards or bake nearly all the cookies and make the candy like I normally do. But guess what? It still happened! Without all those things that I always do, it still happened and it was as good as ever without them. I knew it was going to be a crazy month as soon as Uncle Jimmy had his health issues at Thanksgiving. That kept us in Oxnard a week longer than planned. The day we got home, Jessi showed up with the kids to help get us back on track with the house decorating. I thought, "right...how in the world am I going to decorate this house with 3 grandkids helping?" guess what again? It worked! My house was decorated in a record one day! And it looked as good as ever! I think I will call in the troops again next year.
There is just something about Arianna...always ready for fun. She once again set up my nativity the way SHE believes it should be set up.
There were the usual Christmas programs at school and church. I almost made it to Gabe's school program too, but had to cancel for a Jimmy emergency.
And then the grandkids from California showed up for the wedding. And I got to spend Christmas time with them too.
The day before the wedding, of course, there was a dance recital for Arianna and Lina. It seemed like such a crazy thing to fit into a wedding and Christmas, but of course it all worked out and it was so fun to just stop everything else and enjoy these two girls dancing.
And then came the wedding! We had waited so long and then suddenly here it was! It was such an amazing time, beyond words to spend time celebrating with my family. To see my adult children together, loving each other and supporting each other and celebrating together. My heart was about to burst with love and pride. To watch my son go through what seemed like just days ago, I went through as I helped him open the door to his next stage of life. It was unreal.
We went down to Salem for the rehearsal and set up for the wedding. I took a ton of photos, but have decided not to post them because there are just so many great wedding shots to post. After setting up, we spent the night at a hotel in Salem so that we would all be there to get ready for the big event together. I normally just post photos that I take, but here is a mixture of mine, the professional photographer's and some from the kids and my sister.
My Mom did the wedding cake. As always, Dad helped her deliver her treasure. It was one of her finest cakes ever. Exactly what Emily wanted. And it tasted even better!
John bought Emily a necklace to wear on her big day.
These three! Wow! I won't even try to put words to how they make me feel.
a final prayer and time to begin!
My Dad was asked to drive the get-away car.
Josh and Alexis...next?
and they are off on their honeymoon to Los Cabos.
Two days later, we celebrated Lina's birthday. She had been telling everyone that she was going to have a wedding cake birthday, but instead she finally decided on a unicorn party.
and then Jessi and Ariel had their floors redone, so needed a place to stay, so they spent a couple of nights here. Josiah forgot his bear...and this is how I found him...sitting there all alone in the bathroom.
we had some beautiful clear days and some foggy wet ones.
And then two days before I was to fly off to Oxnard to help Jimmy when he was released from rehab, John's Mother fell. She split her head open and needed 14 staples and 7 stitches! She broke her top vertebrae too. She spent a week at OHSU and then a week later was transferred to a rehab where she still is recovering. John stayed at the hospital day and night for 5 days. I flew out to Oxnard as John's sister, Martha arrived to take his place at the hospital, and John took my place driving his Father up to see her every day.
I have seen a lot of clouds from a plane, but those clouds that day were so extra puffy.
Once I got Jimmy home from rehab, it was all set up that a caregiver come in for 4 hours a day to cook him meals and clean and help assure that he was safe walking with his walker. I was there to make sure it all went smoothly and get him to his doctor, etc. Well, it didn't take long to become evident that he was not going to be able to be alone. Four hours a day was not going to cut it. He needed 24 hour care, his memory was failing faster than we thought. Our hope was that he would be able to stay in his own home for as long as possible, that is what he wanted and that is what we believed we could give him. I priced 24 hour care. I knew it would be expensive, but was not prepared at all for the shock of it costing him $17 thousand a month! So I quickly toured my top choice of memory care homes and unbelievably they had an opening immediately! With a ton of prayer support, I had Abby and Madeline and Corina move his bed and some clothes over while I signed the final paperwork (thank God that 2 years earlier Jim had had an emergency that prompted us to put my name on the POA, or I would not have been able to sign that form). His caregiver took him to Burger King while we were out doing all this. I met her at his home and told him we had an appointment. As soon as he was in the car and we headed out, he asked me what doctor we were going to. I pulled the car over, said another quick prayer, and broke the news to him. He was angry, sad, scared and frustrated...amidst it all, he kindly thanked me for all we have done for him, for helping him and how we take care of him. I cried! It was pretty much the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
Abby and I got him settled into his new room. He was in disbelief. All had happened to him so fast...first he got lost, then the hospital and rehab, back into his home, but then told he could not drive anymore...and now this. I pray that he adjusts, that his memory holds on and he remembers that in spite of what we have had to do, that we love him.
And then it was back home to bring on Christmas!!!
Christmas Eve morning, we opened gifts via Skype with the California kids. So happy that we have this means of communication!
The other two kids and their families came for our dinner, gifts and everyone spent the night. In the morning we had oatmeal pancakes.
Birthday cake for Jesus after our dinner.
Flowers from Emily, Matthew and Joshua.
Arianna and Joshua are always on the lookout for hearts for me. Arianna was pretty happy with her heart chip.
In the afternoon, we all headed to my parents house for more celebrating.
The day after Christmas, we were off to Oxnard again to finish settling Jimmy into his new place. Mark flew in to take over the transportation of his Father to and from rehab to see his Mother.
We brought in the New Year at Dennis' place.
Update...it has been called to my attention that I missed a very important attendee to our New Year's celebration...