Friday, June 24, 2011

Oh The Pure Palatable Joy!!!!!

Here are some hints about what I am doing tomorrow.

He was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread.

He was forever changed by the grace shown by a single man..... ringing any bells???

He adopted a child from a worker who was died because she--- "Dreamed a Dream"--- any closer?

There was a young woman who was in love with a young man who felt "On My Own"-- come on-- this has to be giving it away.

But alas, this young man was in love with the young woman who the imprisoned- changed for good- man adopted. These young lovebirds had "A Heart Full of Love".

OK, OK, I will give it up!!!!

I am going to see my #1 favorite musical of all time


I cant wipe the smile off my face because in just 19 hours the curtain will be going up on my favorite musical at the Ahmnanson Theater in Los Angeles!!! I have literally seen it 10+ times. Kevin took me to see it when we were 17 as a surprise. One year during my college years, I saved up my $$ and got myself front row seats-- by myself because I could not afford a ticket for someone else- we were all poor- but it was the best birthday gift ever. Basically-- I LOVE LES MIS and know every word of the whole musical by heart and have sung every song hundreds of time-- just ask my parents- I would sing Les Mis 24/7 around the house to the point that they know all the music as well.

So you have the point that I am stoked!!! We are seeing the Saturday Matinee with my family- my parents, Brad and Amy and Cassie (Kev too) and then after the show we are going to our favorite restaurant in LA "
Bodega Louis" which is a new amazing hot spot. Our favorite musical and favorite restaurant-- the makings of a perfect night without the kids-- oh yaaaaa!!!!!! I will let you know how it goes!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dochwhiler Beach Los Angeles

First off let me thank Ashton from Princess Blog Designs for creating my new look. I love it and I needed a nice new look-- so thanks so much!!! She not only does a great job for next to nothing but she also is very special young lady who has 2 adopted siblings from China and soon one more-- Beautiful little Ainsley!!! Ashton is an advocate for special needs kids and just a great all around young lady. I am fortunate to know her!!!

As a quick post-school trip last week we headed to Dochwhiler beach in LA. It is at the end of the runway at LAX. Besides the noise of the planes (which you get use to), it is a fun place to do some beach camping and the best part is you literally camp on the beach-- which we love!!! We had friends who were going to be there the whole week- 7 days- so we decided to go for 3 of those days and had a great time. We would have stayed longer if Kevin didn't have to get home for a meeting but the little break was nice.

* By the way, I had bought a new point and shoot camera before this trip because it was waterproof-- it was horrible and the pictures are bad. I am returning that camera ASAP**

At the beach my kids are always entertained for hours by a very large hole. Kev always digs a massive hole and the kid go at it.

Owen working on the hole

They drill for oil off the coast of California the whole way up and down so here you can see the lovely oil rig in the background.

The kids loved the water and the boys not only boogie boarded but also surfed and both boys were able to get up and ride a wave.

Love this picture as Mia is in mid-jump

It was a bit cool (by our Southern California standard) and a bit windy as it is always at the beach.

All the kids attacking the hole

Finley is a bit tentative to go in the water but got her feet wet a few time

She sure did love the sand toys.

I didn't get a lot of pictures because I was so horrified by the quality of the new camera but that was about it. It was a fun trip.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye is never easy but it makes it a lot easier to know that someday we will see our beloved grandfather in heaven and spend eternity with him in the presence of our Lord and Savior!

Cliff Hammer's earthly body was laid to rest on June 17, 2011 at Riverside National Cemetery. He was laid to rest with full Military Honors due to his years of service in the US Navy. He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Thelma Hammer who just celebrated her 95th birthday. All family and some friends (although he outlived most of them) were there to pay their final respects and to support my grandma. It was my grandpa's request that my dad perform the ceremony and my dad did a great job. My sister Cassie did the eulogy and it too went well. It was amazing to recount his life in a few short paragraphs but I do hope my few paragraphs at my own funeral will be as jammed packed and full of love as my grandpa's.

Taking pictures with my grandma before the service began

I loved seeing the casket draped with the flag. My grandpa's military experience shaped him and it was a big part of who he was. The flag put a tear in most of our eyes.

Supporting my grandma-- My moms siblings- Aunt Debbie and Uncle Cliff (Cliff Jr.)

Pall Bearer's were Kevin, Ethan, Owen, My brother Brad, my nephew Christian, my cousin Terry and my cousin Katie's boyfriend (soon to be fiance) Eric. This was a great experience for the boys.

Playing Taps-- man was that hard to hold back the tears. So emotional!

Presenting the flag to my grandma. I was so impressed with the people from the military who participated in the ceremony. It was beautiful!

A final salute

Cassie giving the eulogy

My dad doing the service. The girls wanted to sit with my mom.

Passing out flowers to be laid on the casket

My grandma laying her rose on the casket for a final goodbye.

My mom taking Mia up to lay her rose

The girls with grandma

Again, being a part of the ceremony was so great for the boys. They were respectful and did a great job. They loved grandpa Hammer as he was a big part of their lives. They loved listening to his military stories-- we all did!!!

My grandma watching the Hurst close. It was very hard to watch grandma because she was aware of what was happening and knows grandpa is gone but is also dealing with her own memory problems (remember she is 95). She remembers most of us but struggles with just day to day. I know this was hard for her and you could tell she was grieving.

Ethan was such a man! He was supportive but also was very emotional. Out of all the great grandchildren, Ethan knew grandpa the best and was very touched by his passing and the ceremony. I love that Ethan is totally in touch with his emotions and is not afraid to show them. He was a big support to my mom as you can see in this picture.

Because Ethan was the oldest, he was allowed to go to the luncheon after at a restaurant by our house. The little kids had a babysitter at our house and they swam and ate pizza but my mom thought Ethan was able to handle being at the long luncheon-- and he did. We had a private room and we were able to laugh at the wonderful memories we all had. Ethan even shared a few. It was a great time with our family remembering the glue that held us together but also the one who shaped us all.

We love you so much Grandpa and we know we will see you again!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Too much sometimes

I'm typing on my phone since I'm sitting at the car dealership because my battery has died. Just got my car back from being fixed this past week from the robbery so I'm a bit irritated by this battery thing. Anyway I since I have an hour Plus to kill I thought I would update a bit.

Thanks to all who commented about my grandpa on facebook. My favorite grandpa who has been an important part of my life went home to be with Jesus on Thursday night at 9:50pm. He was 93 years old and was an amazing man.

Grandpa, Grandma and Mia in April-- literally only a few months ago!

Cliff hammer ( grandpa) was the best. I was an, ummmmmm.... Challenging strong willed kid. My other grandparents, God bless them, would get very annoyed with my strong personality but not grandpa hammer. He loved that part of my personality and we always clicked in every way. He is where I got my personality from. He was outgoing, friendly, driven, loyal and had a fierce independence - just like me. He also had a little decevious streak just like me. We clicked and were close. He use to call me a couple time a day which I loved. He was absolutely in love with my grandma and I think her going into the memory care unit where they lived contributed to his downward turn. Literally a little over a month ago he girls were at their adult community hunting eggs with grandpa. He was perfectly fine when he had to watch out for grandma but when she had to be put in memory care I think he gave up. My grandpa is now in heaven with so many of his friends and family and I'm sure they are having a huge welcome party. He was 93 and outlived most of his friends and family.

Grandpa with the girls in April

The hard part for grandpa to let go of was grandma. Grandma is a few days away from turning 95 and while her memory is in and out, her body is perfect. She literally could walk 3 miles a day. She is in better shape than I am and I think grandpa knowing he was leaving grandma kept him from letting go at the very end. I spent the whole day with him in Wednesday and all my siblings and cousins came to say goodbye that day. But grandpa was a strong man who was not about to give up too easy so he held on till Thursday night and upon reassurance that he would see grandma in heaven, he finally let go. The funeral is on Friday and I look forward to celebrating his life with all our family. He loved his family more than anything and we loved him more than anything. He was the most amazing grandpa who I will someday see again! I love and miss you grandpa.

Saying goodbye to Grandpa on Wednesday

Another update I want to do while sitting here is to update on Finley since I get asked all the time. So first neurosurgeon (ns) said she was tethered and needed surgery. He consulted with another ns since fin does not show any symptoms of being tethered and they decided we should wait for surgery because just because an MRI shows tethering it does not for sure mean she is tethered. So they decided to send her to the Spina Bifida clinic and let them get some baselines and see if the many specialists that see her think she is tethered and if we should wait for surgery. So last Friday we went to sb clinic and had our initial appointment with the sb clinic director. He would order tests and then about a month later we would return to clinic to see the other specialists. We met wit the director who has been in Spina Bifida for 20+ years. He was very knowledgeable and we really liked him. He was shocked how high functioning fin was and thought she might have not had any nerves involved at all and that is why she has no loss of function. He did not think she would need surgery as Henie not convinced she is tethered in the first place. He said all sb kids look tethered on an MRI and yes she has fat in her spinal column and she may be attached to it but she has pretty much no symptoms so she just may not be. Furthermore, he said 95% of sb kids have impaired bowel and bladder control and that he is surprised Finley has control of both. He says that just confirms the thought that more than likely Finley only had a lipomeningicyle and not a lipomylomeingicyle (that means he does not think the part that stuck out of her body had any nerves involved). Again, that would explain why she is so high functioning. So at this point we are going to have a bladder and kidney ultrasound and then meet with the sb team to see what they say.

We are pretty happy about this news and while there are still a lot of unknowns, things are looking really good for our little survivor. We pray she is one of those kids that defy the odds and so far every dr that has looked at her says she does not fit the typical profile and she may just be that kid that DOES defy the odds.

Finley's preschool certificate

Mia's preschool certificate

Officially we are all out for summer and since Kev is still recovering from his hip replacement he is off too. We are going to do lots of camping this summer and are taking a quick 2 night trip to the beach this Monday. We have a few trips planned but nothing major since money is always an issue. Anyway, sorry for the long nonpictue post but when I get home I'll try to add a few pictures of my grandpa.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Impromptu Girls Disneyland Trip!!!

It just so happened that I was not working on Thursday and had no appointments scheduled and that it would have been easy to pull the girls from preschool for the day, so we did an impromptu trip to Disneyland!!!! We even took their little pal Addy with us. To make the situation even sweeter, Kevin and the boys were going to be at Ethan's new school ice hockey team clinic at the RINKS in Anaheim which is literally about 3 minutes from Disneyland from 8-9:30pm. So, Kev and the boys got a ride to the rink in the team van and I met them there after Disneyland and we all drove home together. It was perfect!!!

The pics are poor quality because they were taken with my I-Phone-- I forgot my camera-- bad mommy!!!!

Finley on the teacups

Finley going down the slide backwards in the Toon Town Play Area
Addy in the Toon Town Play Area

Finley relaxing on some giant fruit!!

Mia on the Tea Cups!! She loves this ride--mommy not so much :)

Mia posing on some giant fruit :)

Mommy and Finley on a ride-- cant tell which one.

Mia on Small World-- she also loves this ride and sings the song all the time

Finley on Small World

The girls posing for a pic-- Love Finley's smile-- we are working on that :)

We left Disneyland around 7:30 and headed to Ethan's clinic about 5 min away.

Teemu selanne from the ducks was at the rinks hockey rink in Anaheim where Ethan's school hockey team plays. I guess teemu's son plays in our private school league and he was there watching the game. The second out boys saw him they went gaga and he was nice enough to autograph and shake their hands. He even asked me if the girls were twins and after I told him they are adopted and 1 year apart he commented how he loved watching them play and how cute they were. He was really cool!!!!

This is Teemu FYI

These are the kids ambushing him-- Ethan is in the shorts and purple shirt right in front of him and Teemu is in the red jacket-- sorry about poor quality-- I-phone

It was a really good day at Disneyland and a fun end to the day with Teemu. The girls were happy and got along and we only went on little kid rides and the crowds were good and it was just a great day!!!!