Hammond Family

Moving forward, one day at a time.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

We Made It!

Merry Christmas! This was a Christmas full of firsts for us, and we got through it. It was our first Christmas without Emily, our first Christmas in Texas, the first Christmas with no family around, the first Christmas we made gingerbread houses, the first we had a child who could drive around to see the Christmas lights (Emily couldn't see them to enjoy them), and the first Christmas with a kid who slept in on Christmas day! Emily would be up at 4:00 am, because we'd be in Washington, and it would be 6:00 her time.
We enjoyed our first Christmas in Texas. We really missed Emily and our family, but I think it was good for us be somewhere where we didn't have so many memories. On Monday we made gingerbread houses with some friends. Robby had never made one before! Lily loved the candy. Candy canes are her favorite. On Christmas Eve we went bowling-another first. We haven't been bowling since we've lived in Texas (almost 5 years). Lily was very fasinated with watching the ball.
Here's our family on Christmas Eve. As a disclaimer, this shirt makes me look bigger than I really am. Or at least that's what I tell myself, so lets just go with it, please!

My mom made all the girls Snow White dresses and got them the movie for Christmas. So I had to put her in it. Lily's favorite part was the shoes.
I gave her my old cell phone, and it was a hit. It was the first thing she wanted to have this morning, too.

I stained this rocking horse, and it was the first thing she went to on Christmas morning. After we unwrapped presents we watched old videos of Emily on Christmas. It was very bitter sweet. We had our good cry while watching it. I loved watching her roll around and concentrate so hard on what she was doing. I will try to put some video on sometime in the next month or so of little Em. One of my favorite parts was seeing her love Robby's family cat. She and Lily really share a love of animals! And to see her get so excited while in her bouncer. Christmas has been looming ahead for me since January when Em passed away, and now we need to get through next month!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lily and Emily Share Christmas Dresses

So Lily grows a bit faster than Emily did (a bit of an understatement), so this year she's had several Christmas dresses that took Emily several years to fit into. This first one my mom made for Emily's 2nd Christmas, when she was 17 months old. Aren't they both cute! Lily's 16 months. So in these pictures, they're almost exactly the same age!
This was when Emily was 3 1/2 years old. The dress is size 24 months.
Lily wore this dress yesterday. When we got home from church she climbed into Emily's wheelchair, so I had to get a picture! We've kept the wheelchair so that our kids can play in it and remember Emily. Lily loves to go on rides in it!
Lily loves to try on people's glasses. I had these reading glasses, and so I gave them to her last night.

We thought that Lily would like Santa Clause. NOPE!

At the beginning of the month I went home and saw my mom and helped her get a Christmas tree. It was really cold-in the 20's the entire time we were there. Lily and Mom are going up the lane to get the mail. Lily thought it was great fun and didn't mind the cold. She's wearing Grandma's gloves in the picture.
Lily got all bundled up when we went to Seattle. She kept the hat on the entire time-I was shocked.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's a .....Drum roll please.....

BOY! We were totally shocked. Both of us were expecting a girl. We're very excited. So now Robby will have a little boy to help him cheer on the Cougars. Not that us girls don't do a good job! Lily loves dancing to the BYU Fight Song.
I get the level 2 ultrasounds with the specialist, and so they look very closely at the brain, heart, lungs, etc. So far everything looks great! I'll go back in again in another month to take another look at the heart and stuff-he wasn't being very cooperative in that department. But he is FOR SURE a boy. He was quite cooperative for that! Robby now has someone to carry on the family name-he's the only boy in his family. I'm 18 weeks now, and due April 29th. So far everything's gone well, and I have more energy compared to the beginning, which is nice.

Friday, November 20, 2009

We have a toddler-how did that happen?

So Lily LOVES to get into things she's not supposed to, as most toddlers do. Here are some pictures from the last two weeks. In this one, she grabbed Robby's BYU hat and put it on and was SO proud of herself! She found the Halloween candy and was sucking on this sucker with the wrapper on it, so I decided she she try it. Obviously, she liked it. She not tries to get into the pantry when ever I accidently leave the door open, to find more candy.
Last Saturday Robby and I were both home and thought Lily was in the playroom, only to find her in the pantry in the flour. She thought it was a great joke.
She's signing "more" to ask for more Dr. Pepper from Robby.
We went to Lost Maples State Park to see the fall leaves, and she loved being on Robby's shoulders.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

For Parents with Children with Special Problems

My friend had a link on her blog to this, and I read it this morning and had a good cry. I'd read it once before when Emily was younger, and reading it now brought back all the feelings I had while struggling to take care of her. Elder Faust gave this talk years ago at a general conference. I think he captures the joy and heartache of having a child with disabilities better than anything I've read, including the poem "A Trip to Holland." Here's a link http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=6ec405481ae6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1. I am so grateful for the privledge it is to be Emily's mom. It's a rough time of year without her here-this week was a year ago from when she was in the hospital for the first time last year, plus it's the holidays, so I'm glad for things like this talk to help get me through it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Headless Horsman, his puppy, and pregnant gypsy wife?

Lily was her puppy, Harry, who she loves and carries around with her. Robby was the Headless Horseman. And yes, that is a real pumpkin on his head that he carved and put on his head.

Here's the Headless Horseman and his puppy.

And the pregnant gypsy with her puppy.

See, there's the pregnant gypsy! 14 weeks going on 24 by the look of this picture! We'll find out Nov. 30th what we're having. So far, so good!

Oh, Lily was so happy.

She loved carrying around her pumpkin.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Emily's Halloweens

Okay, we were poor college students, Emily was on oxygen so we couldn't take her anywhere, and we had no costume. So I took an orange fleece that I had, we pulled the arms in and stuffed it with newspaper, put the face on it, and the paper bag on her head for the stem and took pictures. I think it's still my favorite costume. She was a great sport, and we got to take pictures of her as a pumpkin, and then get her out of there!Oh, I'm sad this is sideways. Emily had open heart surgery a few days before Halloween, so my mom made her a Love-a-lot care bear costume.

When she was 2 she was Raggedy Ann. She kind of slept through this Halloween!
When Emily was 3 she was a Mariner's cheerleader. She'd had the costume since she was a baby and could finally wear it. She went trick or treating this year.

Last year Em was a witch. She and Lily had great fun together.
This month's been kind of a tough one, because it marks the beginning of the holiday season, and is the only season that I had with my two babies. Halloween was always fun with Emily because she could participate in it-she could feel the pumpkins and see them lit up, she always did fun things and learned fun songs at school, and best of all, we got to play dress up! And she was always very cooperative. Isn't she cute!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lily walking and laughing

Today before church. She actually left her hair in for most of it, though she wouldn't let a bow stay in.
Lily at the zoo last week.

I just love this outfit! Lily is a very busy girl. I think her job in life is to make people happy and make people laugh. She's pretty good at it! Here's a few videos so that her grandma's and grandpa's can see her in action!

She's watching the bears in this one.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mom and Dad's Blog

My mom has her blog up and running with updates on what's going on in Afghanistan, so I will probably not post too much anymore about what's going on with my dad and let her do it. If you want to look at it, there's a link to the right, (Mom and Dad) and the address is daveandjilladventures.blogspot.com.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Afghanistan (from Dad)

I thought I'd post some of my dad's emails, because i don't think my mom has yet, and I know some of our relatives don't get Mom's updates. Here's some pictures of Afghanistan from yesterterday. I like the first 2 pages with pictures of the children. http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Afghanistan/ss/events/wl/08072001afghanistan/im:/091008/481/8b944e67dd054029a3851b8aeeb396c1/

I know this is long-I tried to divide it by his emails. It starts with earlier this week, ending with his email from this morning about church today. (he's 9 1/2 hours ahead, so he does everything while we're sleeping!)

Quick Report: 10/5/09
Now that I have been on the ground in Kabul City for two days--just beginning my third--I thought I would give you some impressions of their circumstances here--not from a military aspect, but from a civilian aspect--from the perspective of the local Afghani.
When looking at the mountains, which are approximately 15 kilometers from the city, it is at first remarkable that there are no trees. I learned yesterday that the mountains were once covered with beautiful forests--and that much of Afghanistan was forested. Though it is mostly arid here--it is no more so than Utah or Colorado or Idaho. The reason that there are no trees here and in many other parts of Afghanistan is because the Taliban burned them all--they destroyed them. The hatred of the Taliban by most Afghans is very deep. My assistant, Naween, is a young father of three who has a good university education. The University of Kabul has been in the past and is again becoming a very good university. While the Taliban were in power, he was in his late teens. One day while returning from school he was stopped by four Talibani policemen. The primary reason he was stopped was because his hair was too long. They searched him and found on his person a CD with some western music on it--not American music, but music that they didn't approve of. He was beaten and thrown into jail. His head was shaved and though he was only 17 he was treated like a menacing criminal for a couple of weeks. He was finally released. He is typical of many Afghans' experience with the Taliban. The Taliban are mostly in the remote, poor, uneducated sections of the country--and they haven't changed their perspective on how women should be treated---very poorly---or on how they must enforce strict adherence to their neo-conservative fundamentalist brand of Islam. It is Islam with no love nor kindness, only dread, fear, intimidation, and subjection to their power that they claim due to religious superiority. Most Afghans are deeply religious--but they follow the moderate Islam beliefs that are adhered to by many in the East--more like the Islam that is practiced in Turkey or Jordan. The people who work at the channel are all moderate. The women (we have perhaps 33-38 female employees) were headscarfs but not burkas. Even the expat women wear headscarfs while in public--but not while they are working.
Definitely things are betternow in Afghanistan--before there was nothing remotely resembling an upwardly mobile economic system--now people are able to earn a living, go shopping in regular markets and shopping malls, eat at restaurants, enjoy family life, and live without fear of abuse of women and intimidation from the Taliban. Had Bush not brought us to Afghanistan, the region would be so completely unstable that Pakistan would have fallen and Al Qaida would be holding the world--especially the US--for unimaginable blackmail--after destroying a few cities as a demonstration of their power. Pakistan has very sophisticated nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them anywhere on earth. They also have a fleet of deep water submarines deployed from their base on the Red Sea--with immediate access to the Indian Ocean. That's why Afghanistan is so vital--it is the lynch pin of security. If we weren't here, Al Qaida's operatives would also be inclined to start a war with India--and you can only imagine the chain of events--with China and Russia at risk of being brought into the nuclear war as well because Al Qaida doesn't like any of them and couldn't be trusted if they did. So we're here not because of the people of Afghanistan--though they certainly need us and would suffer greatly without us. We're here because we really have no other choice. The safety of the free and not-so-free world is at stake.
Children in Afghanistan 10/7/09
Yesterday I had several encounters with Afghani children. Just like they do in Istanbul, the children in Afghanistan attend school in shifts. I was in our armored car for a visit to our owner's compound which is right behind the UN compound (you should see the fortifications--this place is secure, with the guards armed to the teeth--bullet-proof jackets, ammunition belts criss-crossing their chests, two pistols each, and then each carrying either Uzi's or AK-47's...and these guards were INSIDE the compound) In the midst of this visible show of defensive power--with machine guns on the corners of the building, we passed several noisy, chattering, obviously happy school children--aged approximately 6 through 8. They each had regular backpacks, were carrying books, were dressed in clothes much like those worn by American kids. They were oblivious to the guns and the barbed wire--just dodging the traffic on their way home from another day at school. They were beautiful children--with their dark eyes shining, handsome dark hair and high cheekbones. The Afghan children are the biggeset reason I am in Kabul.
10/8/09 Bomb Blast
We had a bomb blast at the Interior Ministry, across from the Indian Embassy. I was in the news room, when we heard a whooshing sound and then a low thud--all the walls, floors, and ceilings shook, and the windows vibrated, but nobody at our facility was hurt. The ministry building is 500 meters from our facility. Our people were immediately outbound to cover the blast--and everyone else resumed their work like nothing had happened. You'll read more about it in a few minutes, I'm sure. Anyway, I'm OK and still feel secure in my location--I'm just glad I wasn't on that road today.
I live in a compound that is surrounded by steel and concrete walls, on a fairly quiet street that is 200 meters from the m ain road and any buildings used by government agencies. Our compound has two or three guards on the premises at all times. I feel very safe here.
The ride to the office each day does not pass any dangerous locations--such as the one that suffered the bombing today. I am in a car for three minutes to and from the office. One guard plus an armed driver take me to work and home. I travel in an unmarked, very unremarkable Hyundai van--and there are hundreds just like it all over Kabul.
Our offices are behind blast walls and the security guards are very attentive. They won't even allow people to bring in a laptop computer without authorization and inspection.
The blast today though carried out by the Taliban (they have claimed credit) was probably triggered by agents of Pakistan--though not necessarily with any knowledge or encouragement from the ruling Pakistani government.
Church 10/9/09
Church was great. I'll tell you about it. To get onto the Eggers U.S. Army base, my driver took me past the checkpoint to the entrance, which is 300 meters down a narrow road, past the German Embassy, surrounded by blast walls and razor wire. Then, I went through three checkpoints where I met Brother Lee. He is here training Afghans in police techiques and methods. (Here, the police are pretty-much the same as military in the US.) He has been in Afghanistan for five years. He is a very popular man on base--it seemed that almost everyone knew him. He is a civilian, which is why he has been here so long. He took me on a tour of the base--which is like a large village. (Thai restaurant, coffe cafe, barber shop, large bazaar filled with Afghan merchandise and Afghan merchants who pass security checks each Friday to give the US soldiers a place to buy souveniers and carpets and Afghan marble statuary and metal works without being in danger.) They have a big mess-hall and on Friday's, they grill authentic US hamburgers. (The line was 150 soldiers long.) We went to church in a building that serves as the chapel for Jews, Protestants, and LDS servicemen and their guests. There were eight to ten civilian contractors, and about a dozen uniformed personnel, two professors (husband and wife) from Kabul University (teaching engineering--he's a retired professor from Purdue, and they looked like a missionary couple...at least 73 years old--perhaps 75-76.) He is teaching engineering because he believes in the advancement of Afghan society--and there is no better way than high-quality university education.
We started with Priesthood/RS combined (we had four sisters in attendance: two humanitarian aid volunteers from a charity formed by a lady from Mesa, AZ; the professor's wife, and a combat soldier (this sister was from the south, obvious from her accent, and she was dressed with all the combat gear--including bullet-proof vest and helmet and pistols.) All the soldiers had side-arms on their person. The civilians were dressed in either suit, coat and tie, or casual shirts. The lesson was on conference teachings--what we had learned. The sunday school lesson was on the Plan of Salvation. Sacrament meeting was wonderful--the Holy Ghost bore powerful witness of Heavenly Father's love and protection to all of us. After the meeting, we learned more about the bombing. There were two suicide bombers in the same car. They made it past two checkpoints because they were wearing Afghan military uniforms. When they were stopped a third time, they realized they were about to be discovered, so they detonated the bomb. Apparently, that is why they were still some distance from the Indian Embassy

Sunday, October 4, 2009


My dad made it to Afghanestan. He lives in a compound with 4 bedrooms upstairs, (for 4 different ex-pats) and a common living area/dining room downstairs. We haven't seen any pictures. He said it's like being in a war movie, with guards everywhere, the cars have bulletproof glass, etc. It's not anything like Turkey. The food is very spicy, but luckily he likes spicy food. He'll be able to attend church on Friday. My mom has a blog: daveandjilladventures.blogspot.com. But she still has to get stuff figured out with it, so there's not much on it yet.
My friend took these pictures of Lily on Monday. It was a lot of fun. This dog is Harry, named after our friend's dog who Lily loves, and Emily did, too. The little puppy looks just like Harry does in real life, hence the name.
Lily loves to play Ring around the Rosies. She thinks its very funny when you fall.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Orleans/Dad's New Job!

So, the exciting/terrifying news is my dad is moving to....Kabul, Afghanestan! No, he's not in the military. He's going to start a new TV station. An Afgan TV station-all the programming will be in their language, not English. What language is that? Afgan? I don't know. The owner is from Pakestan, and the employees are Afghani (is that the right word?) with about 10 expatriots from other countries. They have everything ready to go and just need a manager to come and get things going. Dad did something similar in Istanbul, Turkey, and has been home looking for a job since January. He feels very good about this opportunity, and has been told that his security will be very tight-armored cars, compounds, body guards, etc. There is a military branch there in Kabul, so he will be able to attend church on Friday's, because that is the Sabbath over there. He will have a blog, or my mom will have one for him, so when they get it set up I'll let anyone who wants to know what the address is. He's supposed to leave sometime this week-probably Wednesday or Thursday. My mom will stay in Washington, and will go visit him in Dubai. He will also come home for Christmas. The contract is 6 months + 6 months. So after 6 months they will re-evaluate how it's going. We're all praying that he'll be safe, and trying, with varying degrees of success, depending on the day, :-) to be supportive!

Here's some pictures of our trip last weekend to New Orleans to the BYU football game. We're not going to talk about the game that Robby went to yesterday! Here we are on the Riverwalk. Lily thought it was great fun.

Mom, Dad and Lily.
Robby with BYU's quarterback, Max Hall, at the fireside last Friday before the game.

The one picture of all of us together, at Dicky Brennen's, a fabulous steakhouse.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lily's New Attitude

We went to New Olreans with my parents this weekend to the BYU football game, and had a great time. I will post more in the next few days, but I wanted to show this picture Mom took of Lily. She's been wrinkling up her nose when she smiles big, and she's very good at getting what she wants. And she now cries when she doesn't get her way. But she's still very cute, and blows kisses when you ask her to.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Emily's Smile

I really miss my Emily. I miss her smile. So I thought I'd share it, so it can make you smile like it does me! She was just so happy all the time, and she has shared that with her little sister. We're so lucky to have two beautiful, happy little girls. I loved this outfit.
Em's third birthday.

Coming back from Houston. She loved her carseat. We're putting Lily in it tomorrow.
Em's friend Brielle.

At the zoo. She's just gotten out of her body cast.

Happy Easter!
Em loved to roll. Here she is in action.