It"s a Crazy Wonderful Life

This is a blog about my family and the crazy life in the Sims Household. We have 5 children, ranging from 14 to 5, and seem to be going in all different directions sometimes. The purpose of this blog is to help keep our friends and family up to date on what is going on in our lives.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another grandpa's funeral





Today was a tough day. It was a day that I have known was coming for some time, but it doesn't matter how long you have to prepare, you are never really adequately prepared for the funeral of someone you love.

Several years ago, about 12 I think, my grandpa Thornock had a heart attack. He ended up having surgery and though we weren't sure if he would or not, he pulled through. He was pretty healthy for a few years after that until he had a stroke. The stroke took a lot from him. He became weak on one side and didn't get around quite as easily as he had before. Slowly he weakened, and eventually his body gave out. This past August, he was hospitalized for a pulmonary embelism (I think that's what it was). He was put on blood thinners to break up the clots in his blood. His blood was too thin though and his heart was having trouble. We knew it really was a matter of time.

This all happened about the same time grandpa Pierce was having troubles. He too had become very feeble. He was no longer eating much and the end of September I made the trip to Hawaii to join my family for his funeral. At that time I expected to return home only to have to head to Utah for a funeral for grandpa Thornock. But grandpa surprised us and for some unknown reason, he held on. My family and I were able to visit with him at the VA hospital for a brief time in October on our way to Las Vegas for Steve's wedding. He looked pretty good,though thin, and was in pretty good spirits. I was happy to have been able to visit with him for what I knew then would most likely be the last time I would see him alive. I was right.

In late November, I received a call saying that grandpa had become so weak they would no longer be able to do his physical therapy with him. This meant he would no longer get any exercise and spent all of his time in bed.

On December 21st I got the call that said he was doing quite poorly and was going to be going on hospice. I knew the end was close. On the 22nd I spoke to my dad and he said it hd been a particularly tough day for grandpa. He had been yelling and screaming for help. The help he wanted was from those on the other side. The hospice crew said that he may not make it through the night.

All of this was happening while my grandmother was in a hospital recovering from her own surgery. She had a hip replacement 2 weeks prior that was not healing so the doctor had to go in again, clean out the wound and stitch it shut. I have no idea why it wasn't stitched closed in the first place, but that is a whole different story. Anyway, grandma was in one hospital, grandpa in another. Grandma's doctors would not release her so she could go be with him on Wednesday night, so I prayed over and over again that night that grandpa would be able to hang on just a bit longer and that grandma would be well enough to be released the next morning and be able to spend some time with grandpa before he passed on. The next morning, I waited for a call. Every time the phone rang, I was afraid to answer. I was afraid it would be the call.

The call did come in about 2:25 that afternoon. My dad called to tell me that grandpa had passed from this life just a few minutes prior. He passed peacefully while he was sleeping with family, including grandma who had been realeased from the hospital an hour earlier, at his side.

I knew that prayers had been answered. Grandma was with him before he passed. He was waiting just for her so that they could have that last little bit of time together before he was gone.

So I prepared my family and the following Monday we came to Utah for the Funeral. The drive was great. We were able to visit with grandma and Tami on Monday shortly after our arrival. Grandma is such a strong woman. She is doing so well. She is healing from her surgery and handling the loss of her husband as well as anyone could expect.

Tuesady evening was the viewing. Grandpa looked great. The mortician did a great job with him. He looked so peaceful as if he was sleeping. It was a great teaching opportunity with my children and we discussed that his spirit was now in heaven and the shell of his body is left behind here on the earth. While we were looking at his body, his spirit was no longer inside it. He is in heaven. He is with my mother, and my sister, his parents and several of his siblings who have already passed on.

During the viewing, we visited with many family members and reminisced about grandpa. It was nice to have so many people who loved him there.

Today was the funeral. It was a beautiful service. The room was full of family and friends who knew and loved him. The opening prayer was given by uncle Doug, Talks were given by 4 of the grandchildren, one from each family. I spoke for my family. It was a difficult thing in many ways, but a blessing in others. My Aunt Georgine read the obituary, and aunt Tami gave a talk. Uncle George gave the family prayer, all present great grandchildren sang I am a Child of God, and Families Can Be Together Forever, cousin Mike sang two hymns, O My Father, and How Great Thou Art, and Tiffany closed the service by singing the hymn God Be With You Til We Meet Again (I had a proud mommy moment there, she did a great job),and my dad gave the closing prayer.

The talks reflected on memories we each had of grandpa, the kind of man he was, and the life he led. He is a great man and he will be missed.

One of the things that gives me comfort in dealing with this loss is that I know that my grandpa, my mother, and my sister are all together in heaven along with my grandma and grandpa Pierce and many other family members who have gone on before. Families are forever. What joy and peace these words bring. I know it to be true and will live everyday of my life that I can be worthy to return so that I too can be with them all in heaven.

As a side note, it has been said that now grandpa is strong, healthy, and he can eat whatever he wants as he will no longer be limited by celiac disease. That in itself is a wonderful thing.

So today we celebrated a great man and a life lived well. After the funeral service we went to the graveside service. The weather was terrible and to say that it was wet and muddy is an understatement. It was snowing a very wet snow, nearly rain and it was soooooo cold. But we listened to the 21 gun salute and watched as grandma was presented a flag as grandpa was laid to rest with full military honors. It was really cool. The prayer to dedicate his grave was given by my uncle Ken and then we all headed back to the church for a lunch provided by the wonderful sisters of the church. We visited more with family and shared stories and memories as we ate.

After all this we headed out into the snow to our hotel, changed clothes and then went back to grandma's house to visit with her some more. We had such a nice visit, and it was really hard to leave her when the time came. It felt so weird to be leaving her all alone in her house. She is a strong woman. She is a great example, and I love her so much.

Here is a link to grandpa's obituary.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

MIKE

Mike has been traveling like crazy. He has flown enough this year to earn enough miles to fly the whole family to Orlando, Florida to go to Disney World for spring break next year, so that should tell you how much he is traveling. He has been gone most weeks from Monday through Thursday or Friday. He gave up his apartment in Oklahoma in October and brought his stuff back home when he was promoted to a new position. He is now a Regional Manager managing 10 construction sites on Army bases in the western US including Alaska and Hawaii. He loves his job, the only thing that would make it better would be if he could be home more. That could happen with this new position once the projects all get going. He enjoyed camping with the family a couple times this year in the Colorado Mountains and wishes we could have gone more. In May he had a great opportunity to buy a new motorcycle. It is a Big Dog Mastiff (a custom motorcycle). He has thoroughly enjoyed riding his bike on the weekends when he has been home and the weather has been nice. Michelle is also enjoying riding with him on occasion. He loves movie nights with the kids, date nights with his wife and BYU sports. He is enjoying the beginning of the BYU Basketball season and cheering on a winning team. GO COUGARS!!!


 

MICHELLE

Michelle has had a busy year. She has traveled to Utah twice, Chicago, Nashville and Hawaii. Not all of the trips were fun and exciting as two were for funerals, but the opportunity to see family was still great. We were saddened by the loss of Michelle’s paternal grandfather in September but relieved that his suffering was finally over and Michelle enjoyed a quick trip with her dad and all her siblings to Hawaii for grandpa’s funeral. As a family we also made 2 trips to Las Vegas for two of Michelle’s brother’s weddings. Those trips were all about celebration and spending time with family. They were great. Michelle and Mike had the wonderful opportunity to go on the Stake Pioneer Trek in July. They were called to be a Ma & Pa and lead a family over the 3 day, 36 mile hike pushing a handcart full of their gear. They had 9 children assigned to them and though the experience was physically demanding, it was amazing. The kids in their family were wonderful and it made it all so much fun. Michelle still enjoys digital scrapbooking and scrapbook design. She has taught two sessions of beginning digital scrapbooking classes and will be starting another session soon. Her T-shirt shop remains active (cafepress.com/mlsdesigns) and she sells an average of about 250 shirts per month. In addition, she has recently teamed up with a friend to help with a new business venture...Cherry Lime Boutique making and selling hair accessories. She is loving the creative aspects of this new business and is having tons of fun with it. You can check it out at cherrylimeboutique.com. Michelle has decided to step down from the PTA after 6 years as the Vice President and will do so in February. That will be a big change for her. She plans to stay involved in the kids’ school, but on a different level. So it’s been a busy year with kid’s sports and activities, church, kids’ school stuff, and just keeping up with the family, but she is loving life and happy as can be.

Here are some pics of our TREK family.

KYLE

 KYLE
Kyle is 6½ years old. He will turn 7 in May. He is currently in first grade and absolutely loves it. He is thriving right now as he is excelling in spelling, reading, and math. He truly enjoys learning and is having so much fun with his teacher. Kyle tried out wrestling in the beginning of the year, but he didn’t really like it. Maybe next year. During the summer, Kyle was able to play T-Ball. I don’t think he enjoyed it in the beginning, but by the end of the season, he was doing pretty well. He prefers to hit a ball that is thrown to him rather than hitting it off a T. I guess he will be ready for coach pitch this next year. We found out early this year that Kyle has vocal chord nodules. This is the reason for his husky, rough voice. While it is cute to listen to, we decided to see if we could get him some help to relieve those nodules. We went to a speech therapist and there found out that Kyle doesn’t use his diaphragm when he breathes or talks. Therefore he is unable to push air through his vocal chords with enough pressure to open them all the way. So for the last few months Kyle has been seeing a speech therapist to practice breathing and speaking using his diaphragm. We are hoping that over time this will relieve the irritation that is causing the nodules and that there will be no further damage. Aside from that, he is a healthy and happy little boy. He loves to play the Wii, watch TV, and do whatever his brothers are doing.



JACOB

JACOB


Jacob will turn 9 years old later this month. He is a very busy and active boy and is growing faster than I can keep up with. He is now as tall as Ryan and out weighs him by a little bit. I am sure it won’t be long until I am looking up to him. Jacob had a big event in his life this year. On January 2nd he was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This made him an official member of our church. Mom and Dad were so proud of his decision to be baptized and it was a very special day Jacob also wrestled in the beginning of the year, but didn’t enjoy it as much as Ryan did. He did however enjoy baseball in the summer. He has a great swing and plays awesome at first or third bases. During the season he was part of several great plays including a couple of double plays. He also had his tonsils out in the summer. After having a tonsil abscess in the spring, the swelling never went down, so we had them yanked out. He was a real trooper and made a pretty quick recovery. The hardest part for him was not being able to eat. Jake has a lot of energy and we are working really hard to help him control that energy and focus when he needs to. He is doing quite well in school and is a great friend. He likes playing with his brothers, playing the Wii, riding his bike and ripstick and rollerblading. He is learning to shoot a bow and even spent his own allowance this year to buy himself some arrows. He has been practicing his archery in the basement. He loves to be outside and hates doing homework.

RYAN

RYAN Ryan, age 10½, was wrestling at the beginning of the year. Though we didn’t participate in any tournaments (because all of them were on Sunday), he did learn a lot of skills that he is using again this season. He is looking forward to next year when he can compete with the school. Ryan was voted school Historian for the Student Council for the last term of last school year. It was his job to take pictures and document school events. He enjoyed the job and did a great job. In the summer Ryan played baseball. It was great to watch him play. He is a really good hitter and can play almost any position he is asked. In the Fall, Ryan joined up for his first season of football. He had the chance to try out several different positions on the team. He played defensive end, running back, and offensive line. He scored one AMAZING touchdown by tucking his head and pushing his way through his opponents, had several great tackles, and a couple of sacks and fumble recoveries. He had great coaches and learned so much. His coaches called him a freak on the field saying he would do whatever they asked him to do. He’s very strong for his size and proved to be a great football player. His team went undefeated outscoring their opponents an amazing 114-22. He LOVED football and is looking forward to next season. He is making excellent grades in school and makes mom and dad very proud. He enjoys riding his bike and rollerblading. This summer he went roller blading with mom a lot through the park. He is super quick on his blades.
Here is a video of his touchdown too.

video

TIFFANY

TIFFANY Tiffany, age 13, played on the middle school basketball team which went undefeated and became the 6th grade city champs. She followed the basketball season with Track & Field. She competed in the 100 meter, 4x100 relay, long jump and high jump. She too had a great season ending it on a high note with second place ribbons for both long jump and high jump. In May Tiffany was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society at her school. She sang in the school talent show and was later asked to perform in the end of year school pride assembly. She has an awesome voice and still LOVES to sing. She will also be singing again this month in the end of term pride assembly (by invitation) and sings in the school choir. Tiffany went to volleyball camp this summer. After 2 days in the camp for her age group she was asked to move up to the 9th grade group because her skills were more on that level. She is an excellent volleyball player. She earned a spot on the 7th grade varsity team and proved to be a very valuable and versatile player. She could play outside hitter and setter interchangeably as needed and even used a jump serve in one of her games during the season. She is an awesome net player and I hope to see her playing for many years to come. She is doing great in school and loves hanging out with her friends.

KAYLEE

So I am posting this to recap our year since I have been such a terrible blogger this year. It will be in parts. One post for each of the kids. (it is from our Christmas Letter)

Kaylee

Kaylee, age 15 had a busy year this year. In February she had a second surgery on her little finger that was broken in Sept. 2009. This was to remove her screws and scrape away scar tissue in hopes of increasing mobility. After months of physical therapy, she still has very little movement in that finger, but she has not let it hold her back. In March Kaylee earned a spot on the Varsity Track & Field team. She competed in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, the 4x200 meter relay, and long jump. She had a great season by continually beating her own personal records and her 4x200 team took second at the city meet beating a school record in the process. She finished her middle school career by receiving a Presidential Silver award for Academics. She spent the summer playing volleyball at various camps and playing in a freshman league where her team went undefeated. In July she had the chance to go to EFY in Provo Utah. She had a great time and met lots of wonderful friends from all over. She also had the chance to go on the Stake Pioneer Trek and while she faced some challenges with her assigned family, she came out saying she would go again if she could. In August she started High School and made the Freshman Volleyball team. She had a great season with her team taking third place out of 12 in their division. She learned how to jump this year and proved to be wicked as an outside hitter. She improved her skills and became a real asset to her team. She has had a great year and is adjusting pretty well to high school. The big event for her this year was turning 15 and getting her driver’s permit. Now she drives pretty much anywhere we go together. She is doing great behind the wheel and is an excellent driver.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The last 2 weeks

We have spent a lot of time the last couple of weeks at the pool.  The boys are truly enjoying swimming, and I am loving the sunshine.  Kyle has even been jumping off the diving board. 

This past week, the girls have been doing a volleyball camp.  It will continue through next week.  I had the chance to talk with the coach on Tuesday.  He wanted to move Tiffany from the 7th and 8th grade camp into the 9th grade camp that Kaylee is also in.  He said her skills are much more advanced than the rest of the girls that were in the camp with her. (he moved 2 girls up, Tiffany is 7th grade) That made me very happy.  She is doing well and so is Kaylee.  He also told me that both of the girls have great skills and he would love to have them play with him in the volleyball club.  The problem for us is that all the club games are on Sundays so we have chosen not to play in the club.  He was very disappointed, but he said he understands.  He went on to tell me that NOT playing club puts the girls at a huge disadvantage when it comes to making the teams in High School.  He said that the girls that do not play club simply do not have the "connections" to make the teams in High School.  That made me so angry.  I think that when it comes to tryouts for the HS team, all girls she be looked at equally regardless of whether or not they play club.  Skills should be evaluated and girls should make the team if their skills are good enough period.  Well, I told my girls that they just have to work hard and if they want to play in HS, they will just have to prove that you don't have to play club ball to be good enough to play on the HS team.

The two older boys started baseball this week.  It is so fun to watch them practice.  Kyle will start T-Ball practice next week.

This week, I have been working hard to get ready for Relay for Life which is this weekend.  I am really excited for the chance to walk.  I have so far raised over $300 for the American Cancer Society.  It feel so good just to know that in a small way I am doing something to help in the fight against cancer.

Today my kids and I have been busy making cotton candy and popcorn that will be sold at our booth at Relay.  We made 135 bags of cotton candy and 75 bags of popcorn.  LAst night we also made about 40 Fruity Pebbles Krispie Treats and 40 Cocoa Krispie Treats.  This week I have also made some T-shirts that we will also sell there.  Here are a couple of pictures of us working hard.  I didn't get any pics while Kyle and JAke were working and of course since I was taking the pics there are non of me, but that's okay.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

So much Time has Passed...(Again)

It's amazing how quickly the time flies.  So here is a quick recap of March, April, and May.

March...
Kaylee and a group of her friends performed a fun little dance for the Grammy Awards at Erwin.  The song was called BOUNCE!!!  They choreographed and practiced the dance for weeks in preparation.  Then I helped them to make the costumes.  It was so fun to watch them perform.  Tiffany got to be a last minute fill in for one of the girls who ended up going out of town too.  Bonus for Tiff!!!

We took a trip to Las Vegas for Spring Break.  My brother Jeff got married to Erika.  It was a beautiful sealing ceremony in the temple followed by lots of pictures and a totally fun reception.  The dancing could have gone on all night I think.  It was really great to see Jeff married and to know that he finally has someone to share his life with.  And we are so happy to have Erika as a part of our family.  It was also great to have all of my family together again.  All of my siblings were there along with dad and Kay.  In addition, Grandpa Pierce was here from Hawaii, Grandma & Grandpa Thornock came down from Ogden with Tami, Monica, Shandi, and Tonya.  We also saw Heather and Kevin, and Yvette and her family too.  It was great to see so many.

While in Vegas we took the opportunity to do a few fun things with my family.  We did a hike out at Red Rock Canyon one of the days.  We had a very large group.  It was my whole family, Steve & Zack, Kevin's whole family and Jeff.  It was a great time.  We loved hiking around in the canyon, climbing on the rocks and just spending time together.  We had a great time until Kyle took a dive into an agave plant and got plant spikes embedded in his leg.  He had more than 12 puncture wounds in his leg and ended up in the urgent care to have one of them removed that had broken off under the skin surface.  Ouch, it hurt.  He was a real trooper though and with a little Novocaine, the spike was removed and he now has it in a test tube to shoe everyone. 

We also had our traditional "Pierce Family Pizza Night".  It was so much fun.  We made lots of pizzas both deep dish and thin crust and had a real party.  The pizza was so awesome, and the company was even better.

Mike and I took the kids up to the top of the Stratosphere.  It was fun to look out at the whole city.  Kaylee and Mike rode the big shot ride up on top.  They loved it.  The rest of us just watched from below.  The rides up there look pretty scary.

Also in March, Jake got a tonsil infection.  It apparently started as strep throat but his tonsils got infected and were HUGE!!!  They are still huge today in fact, but the infection has long since been gone.

Tiffany played in the 6th grade basketball championships.  Her team ended up winning the championship and went completely undefeated for the season.  It was awesome.  It was really great to watch her as her skills improved over the season.

Mike and I received a new calling from the Stake in March.  We have been called to be Ma and Pa over a family of youth on the Pioneer TREK this summer.  We are excited and nervous for this big event.  We will be walking (pushing/pulling a handcart) with 6-8 youth ages 14-18 as we re-enact a portion of the handcart pioneer's trek across the country.  We will be covering a 36 mile portion of the trail over 3 days and will be visiting landmarks like Martin's Cove and Rocky Ridge.  It will be physically exhausting I am sure, but I am also sure that the spiritual benefits from this trip will far out-weight them.  We are looking forward to it and preparing ourselves as well as we can.

April...
April brought with it Track season.  Both girls were participating so the boys and I spent many afternoons in the stands at the track.  The girls worked really hard and improved their own personal records with each meet. 

Tiffany competed in the Long Jump, the High Jump, the 100 meter dash, and the 4x100 meter relay.

Kaylee competed in the 100 meter dash, the 200 meter dash, the 4x200 meter relay, and the long jump.

At the boys elementary school, I worked on the school carnival committee.  There was a ton of hours involved in the planning, but the event was a HUGE success.  Our silent auction produced a profit of $2500 and out overall profit for the carnival including the auction was $4600.  That is the best we have ever done with one of our carnivals.  The best part was that everyone had so much fun, it made all the work completely worth it.

May...
May brought all the final school events for the year.  (much too quickly might I add)  We had field day at centennial and I watched the boys play in many different events and games.

At Erwin, Tiffany participated in the school talent show.  She sang Take a Bow by Rhianna.  She did such a great job that she was asked to perform again at the Pride Assembly on the last day of school.  For that she sang the Carrie Underwood version of "I'll Stand By You."  Both of her performances were great!!!

The girls finished out their track seasons strong.  Tiffany took 4th place in the 6th grade city meet in Long Jump, and her relay team took 5th place in the city meet as well.  She did a great job and can be very proud of her efforts this season.  Kaylee and her 4x200 meter relay team broke the school record by 3 seconds and ended up taking 2nd place at the city championship meet.  She too had a great season and I hope she will continue her efforts in high school next year.

Speaking of High School, it is almost painful to admit that I will have a child in high school next year.  Kaylee is now taller than me and she is such a beautiful girl.  She has some really great friends and is doing so well in school.  She received a Gold Presidential Academic Award for her grades this year. She almost had straight A's despite missing over 20 days of school.  She stayed very organized and managed to stay on top of her school work despite 2 surgeries, swine flu, and another flu-like virus. She didn't get stressed out by the work load, but got her work done and managed to pull almost all A's for the year. She has worked really hard and I know she will do great in High School.  I am so proud of all her hard work and her motivation to do well in school.  She is looking forward to a very busy summer with volleyball camp, EFY in Provo, Pioneer TREK in July, and Girls camp in August in addition to volleyball open gym at the high school whenever she can.

From there I go to the opposite end of the family.  In May, my baby, Kyle, turned 6 years old.  The years have gone so fast and he is growing too quickly.  It makes me sad to realize that he is so big now.  Next school year he will be in 1st grade.  He is a very smart little boy and I am so proud of him for all that he does.  His teacher absolutely loved him this past year as she said he reminded her of her own son.  He is looking forward to swimming at the pool this summer and playing t-ball.

Tiffany is a natural at almost anything she tries it seems.  I was so proud of her over the school year.  She worked very hard to improve her grades and she maintained about an A- average over the year.  She also tried many new things and did well at them all.  She played Volleyball for the first time and was a true asset to her team as a setter.  She played basketball for the first time and improved her skills over the season to where she played very well.  She did track and found that she was good at that too.  She also continues in singing and is very talented there as well.  I am proud of her for trying new things and not being afraid.

Jacob had a great year.  He pulled really awesome grades for the year, had fun wrestling during the winter and is looking forward to playing baseball this summer.  He loves to swim at the pool and ride his bike.  He is still working on controlling his actions an behavior.  He is a very busy boy and is constantly moving.  He is also very loving and kind and makes me smile often.

Ryan finished out his fourth grade year in high fashion.  He pulled an A+ on his biggest project of the year a replica of a Mesa Verde residence.  He and I worked very hard on the project and he did a great job on it.  He has been enjoying reading this year and has read almost the entire Fablehaven series.  He has thoroughly enjoyed the series and will be looking for another book series to get into next.  He pulled straight A's for the year and in addition he participated in the GT program at school which included extra work.  In GT they studied the Presidents of the US this year and he learned a whole lot about many of them.  He is looking forward to playing baseball again this summer followed by football in the fall.

My children continue to amaze me on a daily basis.  Although we have good days and bad, days where they listen and are helpful and obedient, and days when they are stubborn and difficult.  I am very proud of them overall.  They are good kids.  They are kind to others, and they generally make good choices.  They are so smart and seem to be like sponges as they absorb sooooo mouch from the world around them.  I am so grateful for each of them and the individual blessings they are in my life.

Mike continues to work in Lawton, Oklahoma from Monday through Friday each week.  He is working hard and hopeful that it won't be too much longer before he will be able to spend more time at home again.  We so love the weekends when he is home with us.  He was recently released from his calling in church as the Gospel Principles teacher and was called to be a teacher for Ryan's class in Primary.  I think he is enjoying the change, at  least for now.

I continue to design T-shirts for my shop, dabble a bit in digital scrapbook design, I taught a 6 week digital scrapbooking 101 course in my home in March and will teach another session starting in the Fall, I am working on some new and exciting things for my Once a Month Cooking Project, and in my spare time I try to exercise a bit by roller blading around the park.  Otherwise, the kids keep me really busy and I am absolutely loving hanging out at the pool so far this summer.  I am looking forward to participating once again in Relay For Life in a couple of weeks as a tribute to my mom.  Life

Well, this was super long, but for the sake of family history, I am now caught up again as best as I can be.  I hope that I can do better in the near future to stay up to date!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The last 2 weeks

Well, I had a great weekend visit with  my family in Utah.  We had a really nice gathering for Grandma & Grandpa's birthdays and I had a great time reminiscing with my cousins and aunts and uncles.  Unfortunately I didn't remember to take pictures through the whole thing, so I don't have very many photos.  I posted them all on facebook, so sorry if this is a repeat.  We had tons of food, shared many memories, and lots of laughs.

After that quick and busy weekend, I came home to my family, spent a few hours with Mike and then he headed off to Oklahoma for the week.  I started teaching a beginning course in Digital Scrpbooking using Photoshop Elements.  I will be teaching the course once a week for 6 weeks.  I have had two classes so far and I think it is going really well.  I just hope the people in my class get what they need out of it.  Depending on how this class goes and the feedback I get from it, I am considering offering another session of the beginning class and maybe a second class that would dig in even deeper with the fun things you can do for scrapbooking in Elements.  I will also start advertising more generally if I do it again and try to get a bigger class.  I guess we will see how it goes.  I guess the best part is that I am enjoying the process of preparing for my classes and then walking through everything with my "students".  Maybe that is in my blood a bit, afterall, my dad has been teaching dentistry for around 30 years I think, and my brother teaches a couple of classes for the State College of Southern Nevada on filmography and editing (I think that's what he teaches, I should really ask him sometime to be sure).

Kaylee had a second surgery on her little finger on the 17th.  I am so glad we decided to go ahead with the surgery.  We were having her screws removed, and a clean up of scar tissue with the goal of improving her range of motion, which had been very limited since her first surgery in September last year. (despite weeks and weeks of physical therapy).  What the surgeon found when he opened her up was that her tendon was completely tied down by the scar tissue that had formed and there was no way she ever would have gotten that motion back without the surgery.  So he removed the screws (which were bigger than I ever would have expected) and released her tendon. So we are very glad we did it.  Today in therapy she actually got to a 90 degree bend, and that is just 8 days after surgery, and a huge improvement.  She is getting ready for track season to start on March 8th.  We are hoping she is ready.

Last Thursday, Tiffany had her last regular season Basketball game.  Her team won the game by just one point.  It was an intense game, bu they pulled it off in the end.  That leaves them undefeated for the season with a record of 8-0.  The team they beat ended up 6-2.  They will have the conference championships next weekend.  If all goes well, they will be the city champs for 6th grade basketball.  MOst of the girls on the team were also on their champion voleyball team too.  So that is really cool.  Then the week after the basketball championships Track season starts.  Tiffany plans to run and do the long jump.  We will see how that goes too.

Ryan had a birthday this week.  He turned 10.  I can hardly believe it. He is having his birthday party today with a few of his friends.  They are playing dart tag and Wii, having pizza, and cake and ice cream.  It should be fun.

Jake is enjoying school.  It makes me so happy to go to parent teacher conferences and hear how well he is doing.  Apparently he listens to his teacher much better than he does to me.  But I guess that is good in mnay ways. 

Kyle is learning to rollerblade with his brothers and is doing great. All of the boys have been spending time in the basement every day roller blading or riding their ripsticks for the last month.  They are working on a "Schools on the Move"challenge where they are supposed to log all there physical activities for the month of February.  IF they do a certain amount they get a free t-shirt.  It is so fun to watch them get so into this challenge.  It makes me happy because it gets them active in the winter when they tend to be less active normally.

Mike has had a long week away this week.  He left on Sunday and will just get home tonight (Friday).   We are happy to have him home for the weekend.

Well, that's it for now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm going on a TRIP!!

Yes, I said I am going on a trip.  Just me!!!  I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who so understood my desire to be at the birthday party for my grandparents (gma 80 years and gpa 85 years) in Utah that even when it was determined that the whole family would not be able to go (that's a story I will get to in a minute) he made it possible for me to still go.  And even better, my trip will be virtually free since he was able to use his frequent flyer miles, and car rental certificates to get me free travel and car rental.

I am sad that my family will not be able to be there for the big event. But I am so glad that I can still go.  My dad and my brothers will all be up for the weekend too.  So it is sure to be a fun time. 

I was asked to create the invitation for the party and I did that a couple of weeks ago.  Here is what it looks like.
I am real happy with how it turned out.  Anyway, I am heading off early on Friday morning and will get back home on Monday morning.  The hard part with taking a weekend trip by myself is that Mike will get home late Thursday night and I will leave Friday, return Monday, and he will leave again Monday night.  So we won't get to see much of eachother this weekend while he is home.  Hopefully he will have some quality time with the kids in my absence.

Now as for why the family couldn't go on this trip.  Originally our plan was for the whole family to head out for the weekend trip.  We would leave Friday and return on Monday which is a school holiday.  It was perfect since it is a 3 day weekend.  Then came the letter from the school that Tiffany has missed 11 (yes i said ELEVEN) days of school so far this year.  It said she cannot miss any more days without a doctor's note.  AND, Kaylee has missed even more school.  She is up to 16 days now between her surgery, swine flu, and whatever this nasty virus was they all just got over.  Kaylee will also miss some school for her surgery on the 17th.  So Mike and I decided we just can't take them out of school for the Friday to make the trip.  It was a tough decision, but it feels right anyway.  The good things coming from the decision to stay home are; the girls can go to the school dance on Friday, Kaylee can go to her friend's birthday party Friday night, Tiffany can play in the school basketball game on Saturday, Mike can go watch her play in a basketball game (he misses most of them because they are on Wednesdays while he is gone), and Ryan can get his award for a poem he wrote on Saturday.  So there is good in the midst of it all.

Well, I am looking for a little weekend getaway and a visit with my granparents and extended family up in Ogden.  I am sure it will be a nice weekend.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Little Facelift and Home Organization

I gave my blog a little facelift today.  It was time for some change!! 

So, I have been working on a whole house reorganization project over the last few months.  I found a great book called "House of Order Handbook- The Best Way to An Organized Life".  It has some great tips in it, that are really helping me to make some changes in our home.

The biggest problem is convincing the kids to help keep things organized.  I am sure it will settle in some time that if they put things away when they are done with them, the house will stay much neater eliminating the constant need to clean up. (which they hate to do of course)

One of the biggest changes I have made in my life and home is with organizing myself and my time.  I made a great spreadsheet calendar for the week.  I have divided my weekly household chores up so that each day I have some work to do.  The nice thing about this is that if I follow my schedule for the week, I never have to spend a whole day cleaning house and when the weekend comes and Mike is home, we don't have to spend that valuable time doing housework.  This has been a huge change for me and for the last 5 weeks I have poretty much followed my schedule.  I simply add in any appontments for the week and print up a new calendar each week and hang it on the magnet board above my desk.

I am sure this will be an never-ending project, but it is fun to see some of it working. 

Last week I cleaned out and organized the kitchen pantry.  It is so wonderful to have it neat and tidy, but I have to tell you what sparked that job.  We have been having a bit of trouble keeping Jacob out of the food.  He is a little sneak and is constantly sneaking into the pantry and cupboards to get snacks.  He is starting to pack on a few extra pounds, and we need to do something to eliminate the in between meal snacking. So we decided to buy an alarm for the pantry door.  In order for this to be successful, I had to make sure all the food was in the pantry, so I had to reorganize, clean up and move extra stuff from the cupboards into the pantry.  The good news is, I think it is working.  I can hear anytime the pantry door is opened (the alarm is annoying too) and I can deter him from getting anything extra to eat.  I hope this works, because the next step is to actually put a lock on the pantry door and I really don't want to have to do that.

Anyway, I guess I better be going.  I'm not sure what the next project will be, probably organizing the food storage in the basement.  Yippee!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The month of January

This past month has been pretty rough for our family.  We have had so much sickness in our home.  It started off with Kyle the beginning of January.  (following his illnesses during the holidays) He had high fevers, and headache for about a week.  The next week was Kaylee's turn, she was home from school for 3.5 days with high fever and headache.  Then came Ryan, he had a little bit different time of it.  He still had the headaches and fever, but he also had stomache ache and vomiting.  He was home from school for 3 days. Next came Tiffany home for an entire week with headaches, fever, and vomitting.  Now, this week is Jacob's turn and he has been home for 2.5 days with headaches, fever, chills, and vomiting.  Yuck!!  I sure hope we are through with it and we don't start a second round through the kids.

Thankfully (knock on wood) I have not been sick.  I have cleaned carpets twice though and there has been plenty to do in the care of the kids when they have been home in addition to my whole house organization project that is moving forward, if rather slowly, and all the normal everyday household chores.  I am working towards teaching a digital scrapbooking class.  I am still working out all the details, but I am hoping to start it later this month if I can get enough ladies interested in taking the class.  It will be 6 weeks with one 1.5 hour class per week for $40.  I will teach the basics of how to create digital layouts along with some of the styles and techniques I have found useful over the years.  If you would be interested in taking my class, and live close by, let me know.

Mike continues to travel.  He has been leaving on Sunday afternoons and getting home on Thursday nights.  Last week he got caught in a bad ice storm down in Lawton.  His apartment lost power, his flight got cancelled for coming home, the airport remained closed the next day, and he ended up driving 3 hours to Dallas on Friday in order to get home.  He was home for less than 48 hours and was on his way back again.  He is working hard and the job is in full swing.  He is at least happy to be working even if it is far away.

Tiffany started playing basketball.  She missed her first game because she was sick, but she was able to play today and had a great game.  The team has won both of their games so far and is looking good for the city championships next month.  We will see how the rest of the season goes.  Tiff is pulling straight A's this year and is loving Middle School.

Kaylee has been working very hard.  She took an afterschool position to work as the school wrestling team manager.  She is in charge of the team equipment, records, weigh ins, etc.  She is doing a great job and the coach told me she is one of the best managers he has ever had.  She is still pulling straight A's despite missing tons of school this year.  I think she has missed almost 15 days.  Yikes.  Like I said this winter has been really rough on our family.  We found out this week that Kaylee will be having a second surgery on her pinky finger.  (more school to miss) She still has very limited range of motion so the surgeron is going to go in and remover her screws and scrape out the scar tissue.  The hope is that she will be able to start moving it sooner this time around since we don't have to worry so much about the bone healing so hopefully she won't form so much scar tissue.  This should increase her range of motion and hopefully get her back to 100% just in time for track season followed by conditioning for the high school volleyball team.

Ryan, Jacob, and Kyle just finished their wrestling club season.  They had a lot of fun and by the time the season was ending, they finally figured out what they were supposed to be doing.  Ryan and Jake had their pinewood derby last week.  They both designed and pretty much built their cars themselves.  They had a little bit of help from mom and dad, but they did the majority of the work.  The derby was so much fun.  They had a blast watching their cars run the races.  Ryan ended up taking 4th place and got the Blue Streal award and Jacob ended up in 6th place and took the Tricked out Truck award.  Here are a couple of pics of them with their cars.

The boys are all doing well and are loving school. 

So in the last 2 weeks I have taken on and pretty much completed a fun project.  I have redecorated Kaylee's room.  She had been complaining that her room was so "BORING".  I agree, it was, since we had done nothing to it since moving in to this house 2.5 years ago.  She had a very specific idea of what she wanted so I ended up making a quilt for her bed, since we couldn't find this color combo in any of the stores.  I also built a platform bed and headborad, made pillows, refinshed and painted her nightstand, covered a lamp shade, refinished a shelf to coordinate, and painted some decor items to match as well. We are still contemplating repainting her dresser and vanity/desk black to match. It was super fun.  Here are the results.


Next project (some time in the next couple of months) will be Tiffany's room .  Of course we also would like to get busy framing in some portions of the basement too.  I guess we will see how it goes.  Well, I guess that is about all for now. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jacob's Baptism


I am a little bit later than I had planned posting about this, but we had a very wonderful day on January 2nd.  Jacob was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  We had a wonderful service where talks were given by Kaylee, and by my dad.  And then, Jacob was baptized and confirmed a member of the church by his dad.  We were so happy to be joined by family and friends for his special day and we are so proud of Jacob for making the choice to be baptized. After the service we had a great lunch at our house with all the family members who were in town.  My dad and Kay came from Las Vegas for the weekend, and Mike's sister Teresa and her family were here from Utah for the weekend.  It was a very special day!!!  It is hard for me to believe that we will just have one more baptism in our family.  The children are all growing so fast!






Monday, January 4, 2010

Wow has it really been that long...

Since my last post...

-Mike moved in to his apartment in Oklahoma where he will be living Sunday night through Thursday night each week while he is working down there.

-Tiffany turned 12. I don't seem to have any pictures from that though.

-I had a NEW MOON Girls Night out with my friends.  It was a total blast!!!


-We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with Mike's parents, his sister Kari and her family and his sister Debbie and her family from California.


-Made candy with mom Sims, Kari and Tammy.  It was a full day with lots of chocolate and fun times for all.

-Kaylee had a birthday. She turned 14, had a big party and a great time!!

-The boys had their Holiday Concert for school.

-Mike's company party took the two of us to Colorado Springs for the party and a night away without the kids.  It was so relaxing!

-I turned 38...did I really just say that? Ugh I am sooo old!

-We attended the ward Christmas Party where we were asked to perform a skit as a family.  Each of us was given a character of some sort and had to act out the story as it was being told completely impromptu.  Jacob was a dog in the skit and true to his nature, he crawled around the stage lifting his leg as a dog would to pee on everything in sight.  Despite being completely humiliated as a mother I was quickly able to see the humor in the situation and was so glad when others from the audience told me how cute they thought it was. Once again I found myself saying "Oh Jacob!!"

-Tiffany made the 6th grade varsity basketball team. Practices start after the holiday break.  Go Wildcats!

-Kaylee, Ryan and Jacob went snowboarding for the first time. I wasn't there so there are unfortunately no pictures of this great day.  BUMMER!

-The girls had their middle school Choir concert.

-We had Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations and big meals.  Christmas Eve we had Kari and Deron and Deron's parents Craig and Linda over for dinner and festivities.  We even had a special guest stop in with presents for everyone.  It was so much fun.  We had a big dinner of ham and potatoes with all the extra goodies.  On Christmas day we had a big fried turkey dinner with all the fixings.  We had a great Christmas!!



-We went sledding/practice snowboarding at the hill at the park.  All the kids got some fun practice snowboards for Christmas.  Even Kyle was snowboarding down the hill.  It was so much fun!!!





-We had Jacob's 8th birthday.  I can't believe he is 8 years old.  WOW the time flies!!


-And we rang in a new year with Mike's parents and his sister Teresa and her family and Pete and his family. Hooray for 2010.  Hopefully it will be a good year. ( and maybe I will be better about blogging than I have been the last few months)

-Mike spent almost two full weeks at home with us.  It was great!!!

Our Family in Pictures