Merry Christmas from the Bolams
Written by Kath
To prepare for this letter, I gathered up all the things we did this year and counted how many of each we did. I was going to try and do a little 12 days of Christmas letter but I couldn't get the numbers to fit right. You will be seeing lots of numbers in this letter.
We had two major things to focus on this year. The first was to get Joey some knee surgery. He was just past his first birthday when one of his back knees started going in and out on it's own (called luxating patella). One year later, his other knee did it too. Mid 2017 we knew this was too much for him and that he would need surgery. We decided to do it in the winter so Jan 9, 2018 Joey had his surgery. They fixed his kneecap and straightened his left leg bone because it was crooked and making the problem worse. It was a long journey with lots of sitting next to Joey in the crate, cuddling him on my chest wrapped in a blanket, and later lots of PT walks. On March 20, he got OK'd to be on his own walking and playing again. He is much more cautious than he used to be but happy. His right knee doesn't really come out anymore because straightening the other leg helped it too!
The second major thing we did was to help Kath's mom pack, sell her home, move up by her sister to senior living, and start her new life. This is much easier to write about than it was to do. We created "Team Shirley" which included both daughters, their husbands, mom, her pastor, and the realtor. It took this team and several others to get this done including 3 trips to Seattle for us. Mom moved July 23rd. It was a huge adjustment but just recently she has been feeling like her new place is home, making friends and going on some events they have. She is even looking for a new church. She is really enjoying seeing my sister and brother-in-law more often! The home we grew up in and Mom lived in for 53 years was sold. Whew!
Bob has been busy this year. A club we used to belong to 'Hydromaniacs' started up again and in the last few months he has attended 8 meetings and attended 2 events, one was two days. He is very happy. They are raising money so they can make a replica of the unlimited vintage hydroplane, the Miss Spokane. (If you feel like donating,
Bob continued his tradition of going fishing with our son Brian 9 times, grandson Marcus joined 1 day, and friend Denny from Florida joined 2 days. Bob and Brian went to the Coeur d'Alene River 5 times and the St Joe 4 times. One place is easier for Bob to fish (the banks are not as steep) and the other place is more fun for Brian (bigger fish and more of them). Both spots are beautiful.
Bob was definitely into working on projects this year. I counted them up: 15 improvements to the trailer, 3 upgrades to the drone, 9 upgrades or fixes to the truck, 1 project helping Jim put our old radio is his vehicle, 1 improvement to the Bolam Wall, 1 starter motor replaced in the lawn tractor, a bug screen for our canopy so we can eat outside while camping, and new leaf springs on our '55 Chevy Josephine so she can ride taller! Sometimes Bob thinks he doesn't do anything but he can just read this and see he does lots of things!
Besides helping Joey and participating in Team Shirley, I continued to paint. I just finished painting number 79 in 2018! I am doing more advanced paintings and they actually look like what I am trying to paint! 53% of the paintings I did this year have either been adopted or someone asked me to do it for them. Some we are keeping and 14% are available to be adopted.
Check out our website to see all the paintings ...
I spent 7 weeks updating our family website. It is totally updated and has photos and information about all the activities that are being described in this letter.
To see it, click here:
You may need to save some time to see it or go back several times because there are a lot of things out there.
The website has several main sections:
Our Life Together
our Christmas Letter
The Home page shows pictures of us every 5 years of our marriage and describes everything that is includied within our website.
The Our Family page has our favorite photos of Bob, Kath, Daisie, and Joey from 2018.
The Our Life Together section has one page for every year we have been married. Each year has a story of what we did during that year and pictures of us during that year. If you ever got your picture taken with us, you may be in this section too!
In Bob Adventures, you will find stories that Bob has written including Bob's Journey, Fishing Adventures, Two Times a Rose, and Working in Seattle 1956. The first page shows photos of Bob and tells about his interests this year.
In Kath Adventures, you will find Paintings of Kath's photography, Photography, Paintings, and Adoptable paintings. The first page shows photos of Kath and tells about her other interests.
And of course, this Merry Christmas page will be on our page until it is time to write another one!
Genealogy research and working on DNA results for both us and many others continued this year. I even had a hand in helping on friend who was adopted find her biological family.
Children's Village is still the highlight of my week ... in Feb 2019 I will have been volunteering for a dozen years! Those kids give me so much joy and helping the staff is a bonus. They are not all great days, of course, but if one child is having a bad day, I can just play with another child. A friend of mine has adopted 4 children from Children's Village over the last few years and I have gone to all the adoptions, taken them to Silverwood, and this year I added dance practice and dance recital. It is so fun to watch these kids I've know for so long grow into happy people. It's a process but I know they will get there now that they have their loving family!
This year we had the very first Children's Village Talent show. It was so fun! The kids, staff, and volunteers all performed for the other staff and performers. There were a lot of giggles and laughter. As you can see two girls wanted to sing with me "Puff the Magic Dragon".
I only went to Silverwood 4 times this year but next year I will be back at it riding the rides and playing in the water. I have two friends who bought passes who will be going with me!
I did 4 walks this year: MS Walk, Memory Walk, Dirty Dash, and Bloomsday.
(Thank you to Wendie and family for doing 3 of the 4 walks with me!)
At the end of Bloomsday, which was too warm and I tried to go too hard, I had a huge asthma attack. It was something different than I have ever had. I am thankful for their medical tents and staff so I could get help. It took six months of using my emergency inhaler 3 times a day to finally feel like we are getting this under control. I take my inhaler with me EVERYWHERE I go now.
I went to Seattle 3 times to Arizona once to visit family and help mom. Bob went to Seattle 1 time with his friend Steve and 1 time with me.
The highlight for us were the 4 camping trips we went on as a family. Our favorite place to camp up river was closed so we found Farragut campground 24 miles from here. It is beautiful. We spent 3 different weeks there, the last with our friends Kim & Jim Waddle. We are planning to repeat this next year adding one more week as Kit Price up river will be closed next year also. The last trip was to Chelan to go to a vintage boat race. The Waddles joined us there too plus Brian & Megan Bolam. So much fun!