My grandma commented this morning that it's been an awfully long time since I've blogged and asked me if I was still doing it. I told her yes, I'm just so busy all the time that I don't always realize that FOUR WEEKS have gone by since the last time I posted! It's kind of a dream/goal of mine to post several times a week and not to go more than about two days without posting something. But right now my lifestyle doesn't allow that and my requirement for sleep rates pretty high on my priority list. I'm hoping that in the springtime you will be hearing much more from me. :)
But in the meantime, here are some EXCITING updates on what I've been up to (haha).
Last weekend was one of our annual family Christmas parties. It's usually a Saturday afternoon/evening affair. Over the last few years some of the families have started spending the night with whoever is hosting the party. This year we rented out a house in Lincoln City and stayed for two nights. We did a bit of letterboxing while we were there, took a long walk (and run) on the beach, brainstormed stocking stuffers for a new member of our family this year (stay tuned), drank wine, soaked in the hot tub and played lots of games. The weekend was exhausting as it was relaxing but we had a really good time.
Last week we had our annual cookie Christmas contest at work and I won second place! I made shortbread cookies and told my co-worker that I needed a more creative name for them. You know, one that would make people eat them and vote for them! :) He thought for a few minutes and we decided to call them Vertically Challenged Wheat Derivative Christmas Edition Cookies! I had MANY compliments on them (though most people thought the vertically challenged part meant they didn't rise - shortbread cookies don't rise) but another co-worker beat me out with her Pecan Pie Bars. They weren't actually COOKIES (cheater) but I did have one and they were quite tasty!
We've always had a very exclusive Christmas Eve with only our immediate family. This year we extended our exclusiveness a bit to include my sister's boyfriend, my brother's girlfriend and Steve and Jordan (not that we excluded those two before - they've just always spent it with Steve's family). We had a really fun day with a DELICIOUS dinner that my mom made and lots of fun opening gifts from each other. I spent the night there last night to be there bright and early (8am, haha) for stockings this morning. I went home to shower and then met my family at my dad's sister's place for brunch, gifts and games. (And here I still am, blogging from the couch.)
People ask me a lot about Dorothy and how she's doing and I'm never quite sure what to say. Her spirits are good, as they always have been. But she is declining, obviously. She now has a catheter and we use a commode in the bedroom because she's not able to use her wheeled shower/bathroom chair anymore. She no longer takes showers in the shower (because of not being able to use the chair) so she has a bed bath most mornings. It's amazing how clean you can get somebody while they're in bed but for Dorothy's sake I think it would be wonderful for her to get a REAL hairwashing sometime soon. I'm trying to brainstorm a way to make that work, possibly by reclining her wheelchair. We'll see. :) It's incredibly hard to put a prognosis on her condition because every person is so differently affected by ALS. She dips and plateaus and right now she's in a plateau. As time goes on her plateaus will become fewer and farther between and her dips will become longer and more common. There may come a point where we need to hire somebody to be at the house during the night but right now Dorothy has been sleeping through the night almost every night. I think the next thing in store for us may be to hire somebody to be there from 7-9am because I leave for work at 7 and Dorothy's daytime caregiver doesn't come until about 8:45. Right now I think she just goes back to sleep during that time but that may change.
I'm very tired but I'm plugging along. I've reached that point where I'm ready to have my life back but at the same time, I made a commitment to Dorothy (and her family) and I plan to follow that through. Her daughter told me yesterday that she wants me to know that I absolutely have the option to back out if I need to and I responded, "Yeah, but I feel kind of protective of your mom and I'd rather do it myself than have somebody else do it." :) It's funny to hear the phrase, "You can do anything for a short period of time." What constitutes a short period of time? I can hardly believe that in two weeks I will have been at Dorothy's for a year.
I've started thinking a bit about where I will go from Dorothy's... I had previously thought that I wanted to stay in her house as long as possible and I still may stay there for a couple/few weeks before moving just to have a bit of down time. But on the other hand, I'm sure her daughter will be starting to take care of things there so it may be a busy place. Steve and I started talking again this week about what to do with his house: sell, rent or live in it. Renting isn't really an option because that has ALWAYS turned out badly for him and that house. It just causes more stress than either of us wants. Selling is an option but one that we might wait on. The current tentative plan is for me to move into the house when I move out of Dorothy's. I've never loved that house but I AM excited about the idea of living in a house and not an apartment. Plus, Steve owns the house so I'm allowed to paint and decorate however I want! AND I can have a cat! The idea of having spare bedrooms (it's a 4-bedroom house) is pretty exciting. Not to mention, when we get married we'll already have a place to move into together. We had considered selling the house but are now thinking we'll hang onto it for awhile. It sure would be nice to have a 4-bedroom place that's OURS when we start having more kids. :)
Anyway, long story short, I may know where I'll be living next and I love that. :) I've started planning out in my head what I'd like to do to the house and it's fun!
My family is headed to play some more games so I'd better get a move-on!
MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!