Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016
Celebrating Christmas at Grandmor & Grandpa Bob's

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Wonderful Week

While I am still fighting my way back to normalcy with low stamina and strength, a skittish appetite, and slow weight gain, this turned out to be a very nice week. The doctor is so happy with my progress that he gave me a pass on my weekly visit. He also loosened some of my health restrictions which allowed me to really enjoy the week with my family.
Andrew and his family came down from Minnesota on Tuesday. Wednesday was a dad and kids adventure to the Chicago Children's Museum organized by son-in-law Mike with Andrew and our three oldest grandchildren--Anna, Norah, and Drew. All grandpa had to do was sit and watch them burn off the energy. What fun!
Thursday Terri put on a traditional homemade Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings--turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallow, red cabbage, banana bread, jello salad, pumpkin pie, and a green bean casserole courtesy of Elizabeth. Even though, as I said, my appetite is skittish, I enjoyed that meal greatly. Brother John and some of his family came by later in the evening to add to the celebration. Our niece Heather brought homemade pies for us all to enjoy.
Friday was a big family wedding as nephew Dave Douglass married Emily Lagatuta in a lovely ceremony filled with beautiful music at the chapel on Elmhurst College and a delicious and enjoyable reception in Oak Park following. It was my first venture out to a special event and all went very well. I really enjoyed myself and survived all the festivities.
Andrew and family left for home on Saturday and while we were sorry to see them go, it was time for us all to rest and recover.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Very Good Friend

When I was hospitalized three and a half years ago, I was very blessed to meet and become good friends with the chaplain of the stem cell wing of the hospital, Jeanne Wirpsa. She was instrumental in keeping my spirits up during that long recovery.We have stayed in touch during the intervening years and I was very happy that she was still the chaplain when I checked in for this treatment. I was especially glad to hear that she has recently received the Patient First award from the hospital. If anyone should receive that award, it most definitely should be her. While I was in the hospital, they did a photo shoot for an article that included a conversation between Jeanne and me. All went well except I wish I had checked my wardrobe prior to the shoot. Oh well! Congratulations, Jeanne!

A Birthday Celebration

So glad I was able to enjoy my grandson Drew's 2nd birthday on Sunday. The party was at our home and I was able to greet all of the guests in person, although still without any any physical contact such as handshakes or hugs. It was great to see everyone, including 8 very active children under 4. Drew was thrilled from the moment he arrived. He loved the balloons, the streamers, and the decorations which all had a cars and trucks theme. His cake with sprinkles and balloons was a big hit, and it included a little pre-dessert swipe and quick mouthing of the frosting. Once he learned that the presents had wonderful things such as toys, books, and clothes with cars and trucks on them, he thought they were very exciting too. Everyone seemed to have a good time and I have to say that I had as great a time as the birthday boy. I can't wait to play with all of his new toys with him. Just missed having his cousins Anna, Norah, and Greta there as well. We'll have to wait until Thanksgiving next week to celebrate with them.

Here are some pictures of the fun. Guess it was easiest for me to take pictures during present time.

Some zoo animals

Present time

Wow-a play blender to make smoothies

Opening a gift from Aunt Sue & Uncle Marty

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day 37, Continued Improvement

Sorry I haven't written for awhile, but there hasn't really been much about which to write. My appetite while not fully back continues to improve. However, it is still difficult to maintain my weight and I have lost about 20 pounds from my pre-stem cell transplant weigh-in. I hope to get accustomed to the appetite supplements, such as Boost, as a way to put back the weight. We'll see what happens.

My doctor is very happy with my progress--so much so that he has said I can skip a week of check-ins. So we won't have to fit in an appointment during Thanksgiving week as we get ready to host the entire family for the holiday. Andrew and Katie and their three girls will drive down from Minnesota for Thanksgiving. Then we will enjoy the wedding of nephew Dave Douglass Jr. and his wonderful fiancee Emily that Friday. It will be my first venture out to a big event with lots of people and I am hoping that all continues to go well in the days leading up to it so that Terri and I will be able to attend.

Terri and I did drive up to the stuga ( our summer home) last Sunday for the day to meet our friends, Marcia and Larry Anderson. Larry was nice enough to install a wireless thermostat and we needed to take some final steps to see that it was connected. Now I can monitor the temperature from home which is a good thing given the recent drop in temperatures. All is well. We did also feed the birds and take a short walk while we were there. It was definitely good to get out.

I have also taken some small trips out. Terri and I did some limited shopping at the drug store. On Veteran's Day, brother Dave drove me to the cemetery so that we could put a flag on our grandfather's grave. He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War! We also placed a wreath on Mom and Dad's grave as their anniversary is this week. Then we stopped at a nearby deli so Dave could pick up some chicken soup with matzo balls for us to enjoy at home. The soup was delicious, but I learned I'm not a fan of matzo balls. It's been great to get out and have a change of scenery from time to time. Otherwise the days can seem quite long.

Actually, after finishing this post, I guess there was much about which to write!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Day 23, Some improvement

I am seeing some improvement. My biggest challenge is still fatigue. One or two small activities, be they physical or mental, are about all I can handle in a day. My appetite IS better as my taste buds seem to be distinguishing some flavors. I enjoyed banana bread and corn bread, chili and apples, and pumpkin pie for Halloween. Luckily I still don't have much of a taste for sweets, so the Halloween candy is safe.
Drew as a train engineer (his current interest)

Terri and I did get to see our grandsons in their costumes and we were glad to receive photos of our granddaughters in their costumes from Minnesota. I love the smile on each of them.  (The cold weather in both cities affected the look when they went out to trick or treat, but I am amazed at how well the costumes still looked with the addition of their outer garments.)

Zachary in his monkey suit (his pumpkin costume underneath)

Greta as a pumpkin

Anna as Rapunzel (her hair is a wig)
Norah as a strawberry

Yesterday I had the pleasure of face timing with some former co-workers at our annual/bi-annual (?) brunch. The date had been set long before my stem cell transplant, but everyone understood that I was unable to attend. They suggested that we face time instead. What fun to see them and laugh together. They also graciously invited Terri to attend even when I could not and she had a wonderful time as well. Thanks, guys, I really appreciated our time talking. 

If you are interested in chatting, face timing, or skyping for a short time please let me know and we can set up a time to talk. Releasing those endorphins while we talk will really help with my recovery and add a boost to my day.