Friday, December 8, 2017

The Grand Canyon and Polar Express

The Friday after the funeral Wes and I had planned on taking the kids to the Grand Canyon and to take a trip on the Polar Express. We had planned this trip way back in July and by the time it came around we were kind of dreading it honestly. The fun that we had both expected this trip to be, turned into a bit of anxiety and we were both kind of wishing it didn't happen that week.

It wasn't the trip itself. It was simply that feelings were still so raw. It felt weird to do normal, fun things. It almost felt like we weren't supposed to be happy, as crazy as I know that sounds. I mean we knew real life would happen regardless of where we were, but it just felt too soon, if that makes sense. To us it seemed like time needed to stop and recognize we just lost a magnificent person. But as it turns out, time doesn't stop and it keeps going. The world keeps turning and we felt like we were being left behind and couldn't keep up with what was happening around us.

So the trip. It was rough. Sure it was fine and their were great moments. We enjoyed the Grand Canyon. The kids were all so well behaved. There was nothing "'bad" but it was hard to be happy. For both Wes and I it was hard to be happy. Plus I got sick while we were there, so that really didn't help at all. And Wes, who is good at keeping it together did better than me. I was set off at anything and maybe cried a time a two over the dumbest things. Seriously, anything. But Wes wasn't his normal self either.

But we made the best of it. We tried so hard to have fun and make it great for our family. We enjoyed our nice hotel (which was a steal for us) and we really did enjoy it a lot. The Grand Canyon was pretty spectacular! We enjoyed a full day there. And finally the Polar Express. We hadn't heard the best things about it... I guess that's not totally true. But we heard some of the more negative parts of it before we went. We loved it though. The kids really LOVED it and because everyone had such a good time it was worth every penny. I only wish the timing had been better so as to have enjoyed ourselves a bit more.

 We stayed in the Grand Hotel of the Grand Canyon. It was super nice it actually would have been nice to stay an extra day or two to take advantage of it all.

 We stayed the majority of the day at the actual Grand Canyon. It was frigid there. It wouldn't have been so bad had it not been for the wind. It was in the mid to low 40s but the wind made it crazy cold. I kind of liked it a little though because it made it feel very wintery and Christmasy.
 Best we could get with the sun and cold.
 We did find a good viewing area inside though.  
 We saw a lot of deer and elk as we drove around too.
 And we couldn't not stop at this place although we didn't pay the money to tour the whole area. Just enjoyed the exterior as we looked for a bathroom. You know when you travel with an almost 5 year old and a pregnant lady you make a lot of bathroom stops.

Ahhh the Polar Express. Again we probably should have gotten there earlier and walk around a bit more because I am sure we missed out on a lot. But, we enjoyed our night immensely. 
 He was the cutest looking out the window during our train ride.
 And look at these faces!
 Pure joy while singing carols.
 And along with singing they danced in the aisles. Jovie was all about that life.
 Peyt was a little more reticent but participated once I stood up and danced with her.
 They were more than happy to sing as loudly as possible though.
 And I think Griff thought the whole thing was just madness. But he was along for the ride.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Making the Best of It

Because all the family came down for a few days after the funeral we tried to make the best of being together.

During that week we really just tried to spend time together. We went bowling and to check out the lights at The Mission Inn. It was quite a bummer that the Santa Ana winds really kicked in those few days because it put a damper on some of the things we had planned to do. But again, we tried to make the best of what was.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Funeral

Sandie's funeral was Monday Dec. 4th. We all dreaded this day as it approached and while each day leading up to it felt like an eternity it also came far too quickly. I think everybody knew it would make things feel very final and real and nobody knew what to expect or how to handle it. And though we all worried about it tremendously it needed to come because the family was running themselves ragged planning and worrying about things and staying up way too late with too many emotions.

After all was said and done though, I can honestly say it was one of the more uplifting days and experiences I've ever had. It was a true testament to the kind of life she lived, and that every person there left inspired and with a desire to do more with their own life in regards to loving and giving service to others. Yes of course it was sad. It is always sad to have to say goodbye to the ones we love. But, the spirit was thick, profound and filled the room. She left a profound legacy that will surely live on in each life she touched. Wes gave the most remarkable eulogy and I am sure she and other angels were there with him as he delivered it. While I know the day itself was hard, and there is surely hard days in front of us, I am grateful for the great plan of happiness. The promises we are given that we find strength in if we but endure. I know the truthfulness of these things through the spirit that has born witness to me time and time again in sweet moments of surety. My testimony has definitely been strengthened through this experience and my love for the temple and the blessings that come through the priesthood have been solidified. In this life and the hereafter I want nothing more than to live with my family, and I truly believe in the gospel that provides this comforting knowledge.

I know that Families Can Be Together Forever!

Sandie on the bottom far right. She dabbled in modeling as a teen.

For the rest of us, as much as we will miss her, our hearts really ache knowing our kids are young and will have a hard time remembering her. It was and is very important to each of us to help them remember what a wonderful Grammy they had!

Her good friend had the wonderful idea to trace all the grandkids hands and write their names on them. They then tied it to the coffin so they will be with her there too.
 Her legacy!

Matt's brother who is a funeral director and helped out with the funeral came up with an idea to bring white doves for all of the kids and grandkids to release. It was a surprise and it was an amazing experience. So grateful for all the kindness shown us during this tough time.
 Sandie's sister along with Jaime and Ashleigh decorated the church for the funeral and did an absolutely amazing job. It was quite the tribute to Sandie.