MLK Day Weekend

We had Martin Luther King Day off from school so we decided to take advantage of a longer weekend and go to Iowa to see my grandmothers (my wife was headed out of town as well). We hadn't seen them since last fall. They are both in their 90s, so I don't like it when the time between visits gets too long.

We spent Saturday morning at the nursing home where they both live. They were doing bowling as an activity that day, so we took them to the activity room and the boys got talked into helping set up the bowling pins. They did great at helping--especially Anders. He even recognized which people liked using the heavier ball.

And the residents like seeing the boys there, too. I overheard one comment on how she doesn't see many kids. Which is sad. They thoroughly enjoy seeing children. Their faces actually light up.

It's not easy for the boys to visit there, I know. Nils doesn't like the smell of the place. My one grandmother had a stroke a few years ago, so she is unable to communicate or do much. My other grandma has short term memory loss, so the boys get asked the same questions several times while they're with her (though she'll also keep offering them a treat, forgetting that she's already given them one). But they know that it brings their great-grandmas a lot of joy to see them. Grandma Wenell may not be able to communicate very well, but she usually breaks out a rare smile when she sees them.

And the other residents smile as well. Many don't get visitors very often. I heard one woman sharing with another visitor during the bowling that she had a female gym teacher when she was younger, which was very rare back then, who taught them bowling (the resident got almost all strikes, I believe). I heard her share that story at least four times while we were there. But that's what she needs--just someone to hear her stories, even if it's the same story.

It wasn't intentional to be there to volunteer--we had just planned on seeing the great-grandmas. But we're encouraged to volunteer somewhere for Martin Luther King Day, and even if it's just visiting a shut-in or a nursing home resident, I think that's worthwhile.


It was nearing 50 degrees that day, so we took advantage of the weather and went hiking in a county park with my parents. It was a beautiful day--actually a little dangerous as it was muddy which doesn't mix well with hiking up and down hills (especially since my mom had been to the chiropractor that day for her back).

We enjoyed supper at a Chinese restaurant that night (well, the adults did--I'm still working on expanding the kids' palate beyond pizza and hot dogs). The wind switched, and a strong cold front moved in.

On Sunday it snowed. Not much, but just enough to coat the brown, barren earth. After church, we stayed inside the rest of the day, playing games with my parents.

Temperatures kept dropping. We didn't experience anything above zero today on our drive home. That produces gratitude for safe travel and a secure house to come home to (even if it's still chilly as the furnace is trying to get it warmed back up). Indeed, there is much for which to be thankful.

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