Friday, August 28, 2015

Bundle of JOY

Our first grandaughter has arrived.  Dallas Joy.  Grandpa Les wasn't able to get to the hospital to meet her, so Kris & Hannah graciously stopped by our house on their way home.  We are so grateful they took the time and effort to do that.

Proud daddy; proud grandpa

We love her name, we especially love the JOY.  Kris & Hannah Joy's wedding message was about Joy.  I keep running into reminders about Joy; it has become my motto - "Today I Will Choose Joy".  Not easy, believe me!  (Les will tell you I am not very joyful at 3 am)  And now our little baby girl is Dallas Joy.  What a precious gift.
Auntie Leslie making sure she is safe

Speaking of precious girls, sweet Lindsey has been cutting Les' hair at our home.  She keeps Les looking pretty handsome!  She is a good friend of Leslie's.  They are both having babies in January.

Les continues to weaken.  He has had a heavy chest this past week and shortness of breath.  We had to call Hospice in on Monday.  They think that maybe all the smoke in the air (from fires) has compromised his breathing.  We will see if the breathing improves, or if it's the progression of the disease, or maybe a combination.  Les is having a hard time holding his head up.  It is getting very difficult for him to type.  Communication is a huge issue right now.

If you visit, please keep your visits very short.   Just a quick hi and letting him you know you are here is sufficient.    Also, please keep texting him, but don't expect lengthy answers!!  Les doesn't have the energy to do a lot of typing, and he gets pretty groggy off and on.  Please pray for peace for all of us and for strength for each day - one day at a time.  With JOY.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


As I have mentioned before, neither of us have any siblings who live near us.  This has been kind of a bummer since Les has been diagnosed.  BUT the good thing about this is that we have had LOTS of visits from these siblings!

My Iowa sister and her husband were here at Christmas and they came back recently.  She did lots of canning with my mom while they were here.  Brother in law Denny sat with Les a few times so we could get out and about.  Sharon will be back in the near future when our mom has foot surgery.
Biking at Birch Bay
We ran into Hannah, Hank, and her baby bump
My California sister has been here several times the past year.  She's just a two hour plane ride away, so it's easier for her to pop in for a few days.  She's always a big help around here - loves to cook, clean and organize, etc.   AND she brings my sweet niece Jenae with her!

Les' brother Howard from Iowa has also been here several times (see prior posts!!).  He was so good about doing whatever asked - clean the garage, wash the car, fix this and that.  He was also great company for Les.  They were content to sit on the back patio and just be.

Les' only sister and his baby brother were just here again this past week.  They both come from the Minneapolis area so travel well together.  They have been here 3 times the past 1.5 years.  This past week they were such blessings to me.  It was like having a full time nurses' aide and a full time handy man living with us!  Brother Gawin put Les to bed every night this past week, so all the other guys had the week off from bedtime duty.

Gawin and Linda were also an extra set of brains to think about how to make things "work" better for Les.  One thing I have discovered about this disease, there is no hand book and there is not alot of customized help items for being handicapped!  Gawin, friend Pastor Ben and friend Rick put their heads together and customized a couple of trays for Les to hold on his lap.  These trays hold his phone on with velcro; we can add the controls for the bed and a doorbell which rings in my bedroom.

Les has gone back to sleeping in the hospital bed.  We've had quite the frustrating times trying to get this bed situation all figured out!  Linda and Gawin finally went to the medical supply store and checked all the beds out and realized we already had the longest bed available.  Linda bought a gel memory foam cushion that we cut to fit the bed we had and Les was game to try sleeping in it again.  He has now slept in the bed for the past two nights - ALL NIGHT LONG!! Praise the Lord.  BUT then we had the issue of needing a different lift than the lift we were using to put him in the more trial and errors with the new lift - at Les' expense.  The first week of using the original lift was hell (sorry, but it was);  we had finally gotten the hang of it.  Now we all have to learn the new lift!  The new lift does seem easier to manuever and is easier on Les; please pray that this next week with learning the new lift goes smoothly.

Anyway, we are grateful for our family who have given time and expense to help us out.  We have some very special moments and memories from these visits.  When they go back home, they don't say good bye, they say "See ya later brother"  because they WILL see each other again in glory.   Praise God!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Babies Are Us

Kris & Hannah's baby is due in little less than a month.  Baby girl Kooistra, we call her.  I like to call her Karen, but pretty sure that isn't her name!  We had a family baby shower for her awhile back.  Neither Kris nor Hannah have much immediate family around here, but those of us that were at the shower had lots of fun! (We won't post the videos of us walking with ping pong balls between our legs)  Thanks Emily, Leslie and Becky for the shower.

Kris & Hannah took some "preggie" pictures.  (Kris was thrilled, as you can imagine.)  I think that secretly he loved it.  He looks pretty happy to me!  So great that Hank got to be in the pictures.

Kaden recently told us (with the help of his mommy) that he is going to be a big brother in January!!  woot woot!  Les was very emotional over this news.  He is very excited for them, but he knows he most likely will not meet this baby here on earth.  Brett and Leslie are great parents and little man is such a fun little guy to have around.  Les gets super sad when he thinks about these grandbabies growing up without grandpa Les around.

 Les is getting very weak.  He cannot stand up at all anymore; transfers are getting very difficult.  Thank goodness for the lift.  We tried a couple different bed options, but beds just don't work for him.  We ended up buying a new "tall man" recliner.   He tried that a couple of nights but he couldn't keep his head from falling forward. We went back with the older brown recliner he has been using.  Nurse Carren has switched up some of Les' meds which has helped him sleep better (which means I sleep better which means I am much more prepared to face the day........)  Les has been sleeping quite a bit during the day, which isn't all bad!  Our biggest challenges are keeping him comfortable.   He doesn't have much meat on his bones anymore so he feels every bump and wrinkle.   He has very limited use of his left hand so even texting-to-talk is getting very difficult.  We all do lots of guessing, which can make Les frustrated, which makes us frustrated.........

Pleas pray that Les keeps his ability to text - limited as it is.  Pray that he can be comfortable.  Pray for peace as he continues to weaken.  Pray for our children as they are in some of the happiest times of their lives, yet they deal with a terminally ill dad.  Pray for daily strength for me.