We were able to spend several days with my sister Ellen from Sacramento. She was immersed into the Eide compound, sharing in some heated Wits and Wagers games. We made a few trips to the Courtyard to visit Mom in her new environment. Later, Ellen accompanied us home to Southworth where we shared a couple of days of post Christmas relaxation. The weather was great and we spent an afternoon in Gig Harbor enjoying the winter sun. We always have plenty of shop talk to share as she is a sixth grade teacher. She was a little apprehensive about flying, given the recent events; and she is happy to be home with Charlie and Princess.
The joy of this holiday season has been tempered by the sudden move of my mother to an alzheimer's care facility. Just two months ago we moved her to an assisted care section of her retirement home. Last week we were informed that she could no longer live in the assisted care wing; thus another move was necessary. The new facility is in Bellingham and is the same place that Esther's parents lived out their last days. It's comforting to know that mom is in a place where she is understood and treated accordingly. It was hard to take her out of her beloved Lynden, but it was the best option. We hope that she can begin to feel at home as time progresses. Both the Bulthuis' and Eides are beginning to think that it might be a good idea to buy a timeshare at the Courtyard.
Merry Christmas! Today was a treat as my siblings and their families gathered together. It had been twelve years since all of the cousins had been together. My brother Doug's kids are in town from New York, Washington DC and Illinois. My sister Susan's kids from Michigan and Renton, and sister Ellen up from Sacramento were all gathered. Two new granddaughters, Ada and Rachel, added a special touch. My nephew Aaron and wife Jen hosted the event. It was a little bitter sweet as the thrill of catching-up was tempered by the reminder of our mother's deteriorating mental health. She moved to a new facility this week and we are all dealing with the transition. In spite of this challenge, we are grateful to God as a family for His rich blessings.
For years I have been wanting to take the family to the 'full deal' of Handel's Messiah. This afternoon Bjorn and Jenny left Ada in Lynden and joined the four of us as we went to Benaroya Hall for the first time and witnessed the Seattle Symphony's rendition of the musical classic. We were not disappointed; and it was well worth it. The hall is amazing and the production was first rate, at least from our perspective. The Messiah is such a monumental oratorio. It is thrilling to hear the gospel so clearly presented in such a piece of art that is appreciated year after year for hundreds of years. We all enjoyed the experience and were able to enjoy dinner and some shopping at University Village before calling it a day.
Esther and I had the opportunity to take care of Ada for two nights while Bjorn and Jenny went to Harrison Hot Springs. She adjusted well to a couple of old folks, though at times it seemed that she looked at us and thought, "my parents sure got old fast." Ada is such an easy going cheerful child; she is very content as long as the necessities of food, diaper and sleep are attended to. She slept through the night the second night, which almost alarmed Esther when she woke up in the morning. It was good to spend time with the Greenwood gang, especially Kelsea who returned home from Bible School in California.
Every year I hope for nice weather the first weekend in December. There are a host of December chores that need some cooperation from the weather. This weekend has been cold, but at least it has been dry. I raked all of the fall leaves, mowed the lawn, cut down a Christmas tree and put the lights on the roof line. Having lived in the house for six years now, I have the system pretty much down, though each year I add just a little more. Esther has started on the inside decorations which will probably be complete by the end of the week. It was a little sad going off to our traditional tree farm without any boys, but I insisted on getting my candy cane. I think that it is the only candy cane I eat all year - driving the tree home.