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.

Our Family in Pictures