Hammond Family

Moving forward, one day at a time.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Lily is just sometimes more energy than I can handle. At least patiently handle. She has had a few adventures the past few days that I just have to laugh at. I need to write them down so that I can have them when we turn this blog into a book again-I was really happy with how it turned out last time. So, back to the adventures. We'll start with church.
We've been potty training Lily, so we tend to have to leave sacrament meeting a few times to go to the bathroom. We've also been sitting in the back of the chapel because though we get to church on time, it's not before everyone else gets there and saves benches for their families. So last Sunday when we were coming back in from the bathroom Lily ran in front of me, and I thought she was just grabbing her Elmo toy she had dropped. Oh no. She saw her little friend up front and took off running. Clear up to the front row. Luckily she stopped there, and I didn't have to chase her unto the stand. We went outside and had timeout after that. Then today there was a little girl sitting behind us, and so through the whole meeting Lily kept yelling "MINE!" Though the little girl was not even trying to touch Lily's things. "Mine," and "I do it!" are her two favorite things to say.
Next, potty training. So, a few weeks ago I decided to potty train Lily. We spent an hour in the bathroom drinking juice and singing songs until she went, and then the next few days stayed home doing pretty much nothing but going potty and getting stickers and M&M's. She's now doing really well.
However...#2 is a different story. We're running a 30% success rate I would say at making it to the toilet. That 70% is NOT FUN! Especially 2 nights ago when she decided to "clean it herself." I was feeding Lance and realized Lily wasn't in the play room. But I could smell something! I went into the bathroom and she had taken off her pants and underware, making a mess on the floor, toilet, cabinets, shoes, etc. in the process. So we had a talk about getting Mommy when we have an accident, not "doing it herself." My friend suggested throwing away the underware when it happens, but when we tried that tonight Lily didn't seem to care.
Last night Lily woke up at about 5:30 saying she wanted a quesadilla. Seriously. I told her I'd get her milk instead. And then she wanted the milk, "Nice and warm," so I had to warm up her milk.
About a week ago Lily tried to drink cinnamon and sugar that we had in bowl. It got in her eye and really irritated it. So now if you tell her to stop doing something, or if she gets hurt, she's tell you "I got cinnamon in my eye." It's pretty funny.
We've been trying to read scriptures as a family before Lily goes to bed. Just the Book of Mormon stories with the pictures. Lily would not sit still, so last Sunday I told her her Elmo blanket was her scripture blanket, and we'd get it to read scriptures and cuddle on the couch. I was so proud of myself for thinking of this, and then she lost the blanket on Wednesday. We looked and looked and looked for it. Our house doesn't have too many hiding places. Then yesterday I was trying to find a cookie cutter and looked under her kitchen in the cuboard, and there it was. I thought I had looked there, but I guess it was the one place I missed. She was so excited.
Her favorite toy these days is a box that had her carseat. I showed her how its a house and she can play in it, and she loves it. She'll get in it and then say, "Come in, come in, " until you come in with her.
My favorite thing that Lily's done lately happened this morning before church. Lily figured out how to get water out of the fridge door. And our water dispencer doesn't have a lock on it. So I was making dinner before church, Robby was out home teaching, and Lily was filling up her cup with water from the fridge and then dumping it in the sink. I decided, after I'd told her once to stop, to just ignore her since she wasn't making a mess and see if she could just get it out of her system. After a few minutes of her doing this, I turned around to see the cup was somehow stuck in the water dispencer, pushing on the water button. Lily pulled on the cup, and a waterfall sprayed her in the face. The water had somehow got backed up and came rushing out, and so she was soaked. Her hair, face, and shirt were drenched. And she was crying, "I got water in my eyes!" I was laughing so hard I couldn't talk to her for a minute. I told her that's what happens when she does it herself instead of having mommy help her. We'll see if it did any good, but I sure got a good laugh out of it. Am I awful?
Lance is my little angel kid. Lily was too at this age though. Super easy, though he it totally against bottles, and just plays with sippy cups. He likes his mommy! He's nine months old, and Robby and I would really like to be able to go someplace for a night or two in May without the kids, so he needs to be done by then. I'm glad he's at least a healthy kid!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Robby's Poem-Emily's Experience on Earth

This is the poem Robby wrote that he shared at Emily's funeral. I try to post it on her anniversary of her death. Last year I made it into a book with pictures and we read it as a family today. Lily actually sat and looked at all the pictures and listened. Robby told her that Emily had lots of owies in the picture of her after heart surgery, and in looking at the book afterward Lily told me that "they were mean," (because Emily had owies-someone had to have been mean!) and leaned her cheek against the picture to give Emily a hug.

Emily’s Experience on Earth

Before I was born and I still lived in Heaven,
Heavenly Father explained how life would be.
He said that it would be full of challenges and trials,
But that I would have a family who loves me.

I would have friends and loved ones who would do all that they could,
To make sure I was joyful and happy.
And when I asked him what my purpose on earth would be,
He smiled, with a tear in his eye, and simply said “You’ll see.”

My life on earth had a difficult start,
I could no longer see nor hear.
But it didn’t take long to understand,
That my parents loved me so dear.

They stayed at the hospital for the first seven weeks,
And had faith that I could breathe on my own.
And eventually the wonderful day came,
They were able to take me home.

I made so many friends along the way,
I was able to learn so many things.
And although I had my share of pain and struggles,
I felt the joy and the love that the Gospel brings.

I have a Mother, who sacrificed everything she could,
Who did her best to keep me healthy and strong.
I have a Father, who provided me safety and peace,
Who’s whistling and roaring helped me as my life moved along.

I have a Sister, who loves and cares for me,
Even though she liked to pull my hair.
Who when the time came for me to die in their arms,
Gave my parents peace with her happy stare.

I have grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins,
Who always treated me as one of their own.
I have classmates, friends, and fellow 18th Chromosome family,
Who reminded me that I’m never alone.

Through all of my challenges and obstacles overcome,
I began to realize my mission.
There would be so many people whose lives I could touch,
Even without hearing and vision.

And now I can tell them at the end of my earthly life,
That God has a plan for everyone.
That because of the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ,
We can return to him in glory and perfection.

Now I can run, and see, and hear,
I can talk, and help, and serve.
I can help others know that the Gospel of Christ,
Will lead them to the happiness they deserve.

As a final request to all who know me,
As we part, at least for a while:
That when they think of Emily Hammond,
They share with me a laugh and a smile.

Emily's Sunbeam Class!

My friend sent us these pictures today, and I'd never seen them! It was a perfect thing to see on the 2 year anniversary of Em passing away. This was Emily's Sunbeam class. She had 8 boys (one's missing) and 2 girls in it-her and Nellie, who's not in this picture. Robby and I were their teachers. It was a tough crowd-8 three year olds! But we loved those kids. Emily went to a little preschool co-op twice a week. She had her own preschool, so she and I would try to go for the last hour, after her regular preschool class. You can see her sucking her thumb in this picture.
I just love all these kids. This pic was in May, 2008. Alice and Nellie still talk about Emily, and little Cael, who's next to Em, would look after Em-he'd push her in her wheelchair and help her talk in Sunbeams, and in September they were in the same preschool class, and he'd push her to class each day. It has always done my heart good to know she had so many friends! Their parents were all great about helping them accept little Emily.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Emily's Favorites

Em rolling when she was 3, August 2007 Rolling when she was 4-September 2008.
Swimming with Dad. July 2008 age 4
Dad roaring and whistling at Emily.
More rolling, January 2008 3 1/2.

Tomorrow will be 2 years from when Emily passed away. I'll repost Robby's poem probably tomorrow, but instead of dwelling on sad stuff I thought I'd post Emily's favorite's. I went through her box of "stuff" today which made me remember some fun things. Like her potty charts of when she would go potty. And her hearing aid, her Redland Raccoon, the fuzzy blanket she slept with, etc. So here's some of Em's favorites. We'll start with food, because food was a big part of her life, even after she got a feeding tube, and a lot of my life was spent feeding her!
Favorite Breakfast Food: Eggs-she LOVED eggs for breakfast, and for a bit I think was getting so she could even sign eggs. She would eat them with ketchup, and then when we put her on a low-carb diet for her seizures she ate them with salsa. This is what she had pretty much every morning.

Favorite Snack: bananas and peanut butter. She got this one a lot,too. We were always trying to find ways to put more weight on her. She would make a huge mess when she would sign finished and wipe peanut butter all over her face.

Favorite Dinner: Sweet and sour meatballs. I'd grind it up in the baby food grinder and she quite Favorite Dessert: It's a tossup between cupcakes and snickerdoodles. At my brother John's wedding when she was 3 she ate 2 cupcakes and would sign more. She LOVED snickerdoodles.

Favorite Drink: Milk. She didn't drink much else. Juice was almost too thin for her-she'd choke on it. She wasn't a huge fan of Daddy's Dr. Pepper, either.

Favorite Person: Her daddy. She loved Robby. She loved me, too, and Lily, but not in the same way. She was a big time Daddy's Girl. She would sign for him or say Da if I was giving her a bath or making her do therapy. In the middle of the night if she woke up crying she'd want him. She'd cry and cry until Robby came and rocked her. He could rock her back to sleep when I couldn't. From when she was a few months old Robby would do this thing where he'd roar and whistle at her when he'd get home and say, "Emily, it's Dad." He started doing it because we didn't know how much she could hear, but her eyes would get all big when he'd do it, even at 3 months old. She loved it! Before she passed away she got so she would laugh when he'd do it. And a few times over the course of her life she'd roar back it him.

She did like eating for me :) I was always the person who could get her to drink her bottle when she was a baby, and then to eat regular food later.

Favorite Activity: Rolling! Emily LOVED to move and roll. She would roll from side to side and kick her legs super fast. When she was eighteen months she learned to roll over and would roll across the room until she hit something and got herself turned around. And then she'd roll back. When she was 3 1/2 she got so she would roll and get up on her knees and rock back and forth. Her head control was always the best if she was walking (with help) or bouncing on a ball or something. She just loved movement.

Favorite Toy: This was tricky-she didn't respond to too many toys. She did have switch button though that had Robby roaring and me talking to her, and she would hit it over and over again.

Favorite Animal: Dogs. She always responded to dogs. And had no fear, just like her little sister. I remember when she was in vision school a seeing eye dog coming and she would just hold still and touch it. One of her favorite babysitters, Cindy, has a dog and Emily would roll around on the floor while he'd play with her. We always talked about someday getting her a dog or a cat. She liked cats, too.

Favorite Texas Place: Six Flags: Fiesta Texas. The summer she turned 3 she and I had season passes there, and it was great-we could get her a disability bracelet every time we went, and with the bracelet she was able to go on all the rides that kids her size who could walk could go on. She went on the carousel, swings, ferris wheel, scooby doo ride, tea cups, train, cars. It was so fun for me to have her participating in such "normal" activities. Sometimes she was pretty sleepy through them-she didn't really like the bright lights outside. But she did pretty well.
Favorite Texas Activity: Swimming. We swam a lot. That's about all you can do in Texas in the summer. It always seemed to relax her, and she always had a great tan! (Her mom DOES NOT tan)

Favorite Song: Called To Serve. She liked other songs, too, like I am a Child of God, but if I played Called to Serve, or if we sang it in church, she would get super excited and kick her legs and move her arms. It was always fun to see! She loved music in general, and would roll around while I played the piano and taught piano lessons. I'll add more to this list as I think of things.

Favorite Sign: Finished. She learned how to sign lots of words, especially since she was blind and partially deaf (she heard pretty well with her hearing aid-the white band in all the pictures). She learned food, milk, more, finished, hearing aid, mom, dad, eggs. But the one she did the most consistantly was Finished. She'd sign it by swiping by her eye with her right hand. But it was definitly Finished. She'd do it if she didn't want to eat something, if she was done eating, if she didn't want to be in the car, if she wanted out of her stander or was done with therapy, or after surgery when she was not happy and just done!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Potty Training Emily (Yes, Emily!)

Emily with her vision teacher, Wendy Drezek, on the last day of school.
Today marked the start of potty training Lily. Officially. We've tried sitting on the toilet before, but today I was determined. She sat on it for an hour while we sang songs before she went, but since then she's gone 3 other times. We also had 3 accidents. But hopefully we're on our way. It's brought back a lot of memories of potty training Emily. Yes, Emily. I don't know how many people knew that she was actually very good at going on the potty, especially from ages 2 1/2-3 1/2. My dad asked me tonight if I'd ever written about it and I said no, and he said I should for other families to know it's possible.

Just before Emily turned 2 she started going to a vision "school" class twice a week. The class had kids ages eighteen months to 3 years old who had vision loss. They ranged from kids who just had vision loss to kids with cerbral palsy with cortical vision loss to kids like Emily who had multiple issues going on at once. Wendy Drezek, the teacher, is AMAZING, and has been teaching for years and years (she could retire but hasn't yet because she loves it). One of the things they would do is every day they would put all the kids (5-7 kids) on the potty. They had a little potty for each kid and they'd hold them from behind and sing a potty song. When I first saw it I really thought they (Wendy and the aides) were crazy.
"There's no way these kids can go on the potty!"I thought.
Not only were they all visually impaired, but most have other developmental and mental challenges, too. Wendy said that they could and do learn. When Emily had been going to the class 3 days a week for few months, after she turned two, I noticed Emily would wake up in the morning with a dry diaper. And shortly after that, I think it was around Febuary or March, when Em was 2 1/2, Wendy told me she'd gone on the potty during class. I was shocked! She was very consistent and by the end of the year would go almost every day on the potty. She was the best in the class! One time she was being evaluated for pre-k and Wendy said she was super fussy, and kept saying "Hold on Emily, we'll go potty in a minute." And then when she got her on the potty she pooped and peed like crazy. Wendy said it was the biggest mess to clean up but she was so proud of Emily for showing off for the evaluation!
We got a potty for the house and Emily got so she would go 3-4 times a day. If she didn't go it was my fault for forgetting to put her on. I would sit on the ground and hold her from behind while she'd go. And then afterwards I'd say, "Good job, Emily!" And she'd get so excited and smile and start talking (Emily talk). We had the most success the summer of Emily's 3rd birthday. She still went to school, but it was with Ms. Rebecca, who was also her vision therapist at home (she taught for Wendy for summer school). She would go to the potty at school, and then at home, too. She'd even go in the middle of the night when she'd wake up. I was always so proud of her. I still have the charts where I kept track of when she'd go. She would also go for my friend Jessica. She'd also go sometimes when therapists were over at our house. I was always so proud every time she would go, I just can't even say how much. She'd go both #1 and #2. When she started pre-K I don't think they quite believed that she would go on the potty, and they also didn't have the time to devote to waiting to hold her on it (more kids, less aides), so she wasn't quite as successful after that. But she'd still go for me at home.
I think Lily is smart for figuring it out, but I also expect her to. I will always be grateful for a teacher who expected things out of Emily that I (who really tried to have high expectations for her) never thought possible!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

After Christmas in Washington-Camille's house

On the 28th Robby's dad drove us over to the Seattle Temple, where we met Steve, who picked us up and took us home. John and Coya and Janica and Kacey got in the same day, so as soon as we were all there we had Christmas again. Here's Steve and Lance playing. Kind of. Mom and Dad got the boys Colts uniforms. They were SO excited. From Ryan, "Wow, the Colts are my second favorite team!" It was pretty funny. They were outside playing football with Grandpa any time he would go out and play. Which I think was every day. We had beautiful weather while we were home. Cold, and it snowed the first morning we were there, but no rain, so we got to play outside.
Mom made all the granddaughters quilts. This one is Lily's. I love it!
And this one is mine. Its on my bed now.
Here's Mom with the granddaughters who were there. We sure missed Kylee and McKinnley!

Lily and Akaila are 3 1/2 months apart, and were great buddies. They just followed each other around everywhere, slept in the same room, went bowling together. It was really fun to watch them. I'm always amazed that considering their moms are twins, they look NOTHING alike.
Lily loved playing in the snow. We were quite impressed-at home she's always saying she's cold, but she stayed outside until we made her go in. She kept on these gloves much better than the other ones.
I didn't get a good picture, but Braxton and Ryan would jump up and down while Lance sat in this bouncer and laughed and laughed. It was quite funny. Braxton was Lance's pal, he always wanted to know where Lance was and played with him. He'll be a great big brother to his brother who's on the way!
Grandma and Grandpa gave Lily these sunglasses and lipstick. She was quite funny with the sunglasses in the bouncer.
Sunset from the back porch.
Lily was looking at pictures on Facebook with Aunt Sarah. Lily loves to sing, "Happy birthday, Aunt Sarah." She turned 20 the day before we got there.
Braxton was so happy and easy going the whole trip. It was great. He loved his Uncle Kacey.
We went 5 pin (Canadian) bowling up in Canada. The ball is like a shotput ball. Lily and Akaila shared a turn and loved pushing the ball down the lane.
Mt. Baker from Semiahmoo. This was the first place that we took Emily when she came off oxygen. She came off oxygen while we were home at Robby's house over Christmas, when she was 5 months old. Semiahmoo was the first place we went without taking the oxygen with us. I love this view. Semiahmoo is also where we got engaged and where our wedding reception was.

We tried to get a picture of Mom with the girls at the beach, but it didn't work too well.

Brax and his pal, Lance.
Dad spent lots of time reading to the different grandkids. Akaila had a much better attention span than Lily did, though.

John with Mady. She didn't feel well for a lot of the trip but she was happy here.

We had such a great time. I didn't get any pictures of it, because I'm dumb, but Mom redid her kitchen this summer and it looks so good! It was really fun to cook and visit in. She has beautiful wood floors and granite countertops, two ovens, and a big island, so way more cooking space. She also made a fun little reading nook. I think there was always someone sitting in it reading. We loved being home in Washington-I'm definitly a Northwest girl at heart, like Janica said. Hopefully sometime in the next several years we'll be closer to family! Until then, I will enjoy the warm weather in Texas! (At least in the winter-don't love the summers)

Christmas in Washington-at Robby's

We flew in on Christmas Eve to Spokane and then drove 2 hours to Robby's house in Quincy, getting there at 11:00 PM (1:00 am our time). Lily was in her carseat on the plane, and slept a bit on the 2nd flight from Denver to Spokane, but then was wide awake the 2 hour car ride home. I was so tired and had to entertain her and keep her from hitting her brother; it was the hardest part of the trip for me! They slept in Christmas morning, so that was good.
Here's Lily playing on the lawn mower. She thought it was great fun, and would not keep her gloves on. One of the things we really wanted to do was to get a picture of the 4 generations of Hammond men. Robby's the only boy in his family. Grandpa Hammond drove up from the Tri-Cities. It's always fun to visit and catch up with him.
Lance getting to know his Great Grandpa.
Robby's sister Beckie has a boy, Thomas, who turns one the beginning of February. She helped us play with Lance. It was a lot of fun to have the two boy cousins together.
Lance has Thomas' pacifier in his mouth in this picture.
Robby's mom with the two boys.

We went over to Robby's cousin's house in Moses Lake. Lance became great friends with Neil.
On Christmas day we went out to Emily's gravesite. Robby's parents had already cleaned it off and put the Christmas tree there. It was only our second time seeing the gravesite. I was having a hard time figuring out how to explain it to Lily. Because Emily's body is there, but we don't really feel like Emily is there. Her spirit at least. Which is all hard to explain to a two year old. Finally Robby said it's a place we go to to remember Emily. Which I thought was a good explanation. While we were there we rolled around in the snow like how Emily used to roll. The day before, at our house in Texas, we'd watched videos of Emily from past Christmas's.

Lily looks just like Emily to me in this picture. When I first saw it for a split second I thought it was Emily rolling around!
Lily letting snowballs fly. We attempted sledding, but she fell of the sled and got a face full of snow, so it didn't go so well. There's a video on facebook of it if you're curious!
Sorry, this picture is out of order. This is at the airport on Christms Eve. She had to carry Elmo with her.

Christmas Eve

The 23rd we had Christmas Eve. Here Lily is giving gold to Baby Jesus. The missionaries sang for us.
Lily opening her new Elmo pajamas.

Lance's present from Santa Claus on Christmas morning (the 24th). He quite likes it!
Lily's big presents from Santa included a Tickle Me Elmo that only cost Santa $6! She loves it and had to take it with us to Washington.
Her other Santa present was this grocery cart, that she's been having great fun with.

Lance had an accident, so here's my chubby naked baby Christmas morning.
We flew out to Washington on the afternoon of the 24th. It made for a crazy day, and I've been cleaning up from it ever since we got home, but it was really fun.