Friday, February 25, 2011

A galaxy far...far...away. At least 6-8 weeks.

How many of us ever really take up those 'send in' offers you see on the back of cereal boxes or toys? I, for one, know that I really never had. I'm sitting here trying to rack my brain, thinking back through my childhood for a time when we sent away for something and honestly, I come up short (Mom/Dad - help me out here? lol).

But for a while now, my son Jack has been collecting Star Wars figures (he pretty much came out wielding a light saber and let me tell you, it wasn't pleasant!) and we noticed that on the packaging there was this little tidbit about a 'Free Boba Fett' with purchase.

The catch is that you had to buy 5 of these specially marked figures, keep the proof of purchases and then send it in along with a check for $6.95 for Shipping and Handling.  So over the course of a few months (Christmas was awesome for this!) Jack slowly collected the 5 guys (plus some) needed to send off for his Boba Fett.

It was an exciting day in the Hammie household when we finally cut that last UPC symbol from the back of the last figure and filled out the form. Then I had Jack carry the envelope containing all the necessary items to the mailbox to mail off.  This was right around January 15, 2011.

We had to explain to him that he wouldn't be getting his Boba Fett for at least '6-8 weeks'. That it would probably be around the beginning March before he'd see it.

Broke his little heart.

Those first few weeks, Jack would race to the mailbox and ask if it was here yet? And each time, we'd have to console him and then remind him that he still had a few more weeks to go.

What's great about time though, is that sometimes you forget about certain things. Or at least it was pushed to the back of his little 6 year old mind.

But as we were getting out of the 'Wonder Van' today, the mailman had just delivered the mail and he was walking up to us, with a box in his hand. I really didn't think too much about it. We've (Jon) has been waiting on a few things he ordered for the jeep and our new audio system for the living room. So imagine my SHOCK when I saw Jack's name on the box.

'Oh my gosh Jack! This package has your name on it! Do you know what that means?!!"

This is when Jack broke into various jumps and flips while shouting with glee - 'My Boba Fett!!!"

After that it was a whirlwind of collecting backpacks, bags and the rest of the mail to get into the house as fast as we could for him to open it.

It almost felt like Christmas morning.

It was all I could do to slow it down so I could try and take some pictures of this momentous moment!

Jack holding up his box...

Look at that happy face!

Ripping it open! Why do they have to use so much tape?!

A box inside a box....

So exciting!!

He finally got it free!

Is this the coolest toy or what?!

Jack getting down to the business of playing...

One the things I love about Jack is that he has a very vivid imagination and he has no trouble whatsoever giving himself over to his very own make believe world. Lots of that time is spent making blow up noises, gun and blaster noises, sounds of various toys being blown up....the list of sounds coming out of this kids mouth is endless. Seriously, I'm surprised that with such animated make-believe noises that he doesn't constantly have drool or spit falling from his mouth. It sounds like a big ol' spit bubble fest with all those noises he makes while playing.

Case in point. Boba Fett is blasting off!

Boba Fett has now become his favorite toy and has taken him everywhere we go. It was well worth the $6.95 spent and the tedious waiting for him to arrive!

PS - HI MOM!!!! ;)

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

It's official....

If you haven't noticed, this awesome family of mine are big dorks! So is it any surprise that we go and do something like this:

Yup, that's our brand spanking new license plate I had custom made for the 'Wonder Van'. I think it's pretty hilarious. Cassie...well, she's mortified. Which if you ask me, means I'm doing my job as a Mom exactly how I should be.

That's right - Us Hammie's are living it up. You know you're jealous.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Mr. VIP Himself!

Another year...another chance at being VIP.

I love when schools districts carry on the same traditions even when the kids aren't in the same school anymore.

Case in point - you may remember a blog of mine about Jason being VIP last year at JPS? Well, now that he's moved on to Bitz, I'm happy to report that they also have VIP's for these kids as well!

Jason's turn was finally up to be the VIP kid of the week. I do have to say that they don't make it as 'special' as they do for the kids at JPS but what I do like about it, is that instead of letting the parents eat breakfast with the kids in the morning on Friday, they let them come for lunch instead. Now, their choice of what to serve that day is questionable but the point of the matter is, that it gives that VIP a chance to feel special and important when one (or both) of their parents are able to join them for lunch.

Unfortunately for Jason and I, they were serving FISH sandwiches.

Now, normally I wouldn't really have a problem with a fish sandwich - from a GOOD restaurant. But one from a elementary school, yeah....I had to pass on that one. Thankfully, they had a bunch of grilled cheese's hidden in the oven and I asked if Jase and I could have one of those instead.

Jason also received a certificate for his AWESOMENESS, a coupon for a FREE bag of popcorn, a certificate of ACHIEVEMENT with a coupon good for one free kids meal to the Golden (My Dad's gonna be so happy!) and a RAD pencil! SCORE!

After his lunch and awards, I let him pick out a dessert from the ala cart selection of the cafeteria. He opted for a bowl of vanilla ice cream. I then came up with the awesome idea of pouring his strawberry milk in it to make Strawberry ice cream. I totally rule!

Jason at the VIP Lunch table...

Outside his classroom, they display an 'All about Me' poster for whichever kid is VIP that week. It just tells a little about the kid and what's his likes/dislikes are.

Some of my favorite answers that he gave are:

'When I grow up I'm going to be..... A rock sintest."

"Favorite food.....Tie Chicken"

"I ride my bike super good!"


"I show others I care by....helping them".

I love it that the schools here take time out to honor each and every one of these kids. Because to them, it doesn't matter if they're smart, small, tall, boy or girl... each one of these kids gets to be special for one whole week.

Gotta love that!
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Saturday, February 12, 2011

For the love of Jeep!

My husband has been a Jeep guy since before he can remember. He grew up surrounded by various jeeps his Dad had. When he and I met, he was driving this amazing blue jeep. Which, if I'm being honest, had a lot to do with me thinking he was a big ol' studly man (the 60 inch TV didn't hurt either) and causing me to fall head over heels in love with him. We both loved that jeep so much, that when we did tie the knot, we had our wedding pictures taken with it.

Jon with his Dad's Golden Eagle (a '77 maybe?)

With his Dad's CJ5 Renegade...

The jeep that made me fall in love with Jon.... ;)

At our wedding...

Sadly, as it is with life, we had to trade the jeep in for a family vehicle (a MINIVAN no less) after Jason was born. It had become way to difficult to pack up a ready-made-family plus the addition of a new born into a jeep with no air conditioning, living in the south.

A year or two pass and we were finally able to afford to get a second vehicle. Can you guess what it was?

Yup, another jeep!

This time, a white one. We purchased this jeep shortly after Jack was born while living in Charleston, SC and Jon had it until right before we moved from Columbia, SC.

Now we were back to being a one car family when we moved here to Camp Lejeune. It worked out pretty good for us for the most part. It helped us save money, which was one of the goals of going down to a one car family.

There were plenty of downsides of course. Like having to drive EVERYONE's tush around! Finally we got hip to the fact that it would be pretty advantageous for Jon to get a bike (as in bicycle) so I wouldn't have to drive him to and from every day. Seeing as his work is only about 5 minutes up the road and it gives him the extra exercise he wants and it freed me up from feeling like a chauffeur - It was a win-win situation.

But Jon's heart still had a hole in it, left gaping open by lack of jeep ownership.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. We decided that the New Year would be a good time to get our budget back on track and as we planned out our finances, we realized that we would be able to pay down a lot of our debt with Jon's tax return this year (one of the bonus's of being deployed last year), which would free up a lot of extra money for us. It was then decided that it was time to look into a second vehicle for Jon.

So the search was on for a jeep! Only Jon didn't want a new jeep. He wanted an older model, that he could fix up, refurbish and call his own.

There were a few nibbles on the line during the process of securing a jeep. One, we thought would definitely work out.

It was 1981 CJ7, located in Myrtle Beach, SC. Jon and I sent the kids to school and took off to go check this jeep out.

Only it was no longer in MB. It was moved to an auction another hour and a half east of MB.

And it didn't have a top and doors (which would be an easy fix for Jon - he could just order a soft top and doors).

And they seriously expected us to pay an obscene amount of money for a jeep that had obvious serious mechanical problems, not to mention NO TOP OR DOORS!

After a long day of driving to MB, then to Darlington, SC, then back to MB and finally back home, we were STILL jeepless. But it was a smart decision.

Our second nibble came in the form of a 1983 CJ 8, Jeep Scrambler. This one had serious prospects. Jon and the seller had been in contact on and off for a week and the plan was to head over to where he was at (Charlotte, NC) the following weekend (Jon was working nights and that was the only weekend he had off) to purchase the vehicle.  They had made the agreement that Jon would paypal this guy $100 of "Good Faith' money to hold the jeep and take it off the ads. But right before Jon had a chance to do that, the guy sold the Scrambler out from under us to some random guy that just happened to show up. JERK!

Jon's heart was in serious jeopardy of being broken, when what to  his wondering eyes does he see? Another jeep Scrambler ad! This one also located in Charlotte, NC. It is a 1984 CJ8 Scrambler, being sold by a guy that buys jeeps, fixes them up and resells them for hardly anything. Jon immediately jumped on this, emailing and eventually having many conversations over the phone with this 'Good Ol' Boy' from the South.

After examining many photos, scrutinizing details and ensuring that each party was on the up and up, the plan was made to head to Charlotte and bring this beast home!

We borrowed a friends truck and once we hit Charlotte, picked up the trailer that we were going to tow it home in (the jeep didn't have tags or registration yet and we didn't want to risk getting pulled over). We make it out to the guys house and it's LOVE at first sight for Jon!

My fuel to get me through this long day...

 Jon driving the truck on our way to Charlotte...


Check out the studly-ness just oozing out of him right now!

This is Jimmy, who we bought the Scrambler from, driving it up onto the trailer.

Making sure the tires are all the way to the edge.

But with most things, this did not go off without a hitch. Come to find out that the big meaty tires that were on the jeep were just way to big to get the straps around to secure it to the trailer. So we had to let the air out of them for a while. Enough that we could rig something up until we could make it to the Walmart and purchase bigger straps to use.

My job was to let the air out...

 I make this job look GOOD!

Jon with his new toy! He's so happy!

In the Walmart parking lot, after buying better straps.

This was basically our view from behind the whole way home! LOVE IT!

Now 'The Beast' sits in our garage while Jon starts his repair work on it. Yes, eventually Jon will be driving it but there are a few things he needs to do before he'll feel safe doing so. Like rebuilding the carburetor, among other things.

The search is over and Jon is on cloud 9! There are many plans with this jeep, none of it involve ever reselling it! Every year making it better, bigger, stronger, faster....until there's nothing left to improve upon. Then when we're old and gray, our children can fight over who's gonna have this when we die. 

But for now, everyone say a prayer that Jon gets this up and running again soon. I, for one, would actually like to see him DRIVE this jeep in the VERY near future.  I can't wait to go tooling around in it!

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Imported from Michigan.

We were watching the SuperBowl on Sunday and since I'm not a big pro ball fan, I only really watching it for the commercials. (I think they're only in it for the $ and not the love of the game. Unlike College ball! GO BLUE!)

So while the game was on, I would be cleaning, getting the kids baths, doing laundry. You know, all the stuff you try to fit in while the commercials are ON. Then I would run back to the living room to catch the commercials.

Some were AWESOME. Some...LAME.  One of my favorites was the Volkswagen Darth Vader one with the little kid trying with all his might to use the force. I CRACKED up at that one. Which I think most of us with kids or who grew up with a million Star Wars figures and posters on our walls, did.

But my absolute favorite commercial of the whole night - No, scratch that - my WHOLE LIFE is the Chrysler/Eminem - Imported from Detroit commercial!

At first, I as like "Is that....Detroit?" Then they said something about 'being made of steel' and I thought, "oh - this is just some Pittsburgh commercial".  But as soon as I saw the 'Spirit of Detroit' statue,  I KNEW that this was DETROIT!

The big guy after the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup.
 Look at him representing!!!

I have a hard time trying to actually describe what I feel about this because it seems silly to have 'emotions' over a commercial. But as I watched it,  I was so PROUD!

That's MY state. 

That's MY big city!

No, I didn't grow up there (Detroit), but that doesn't mean I can't be proud of it. I see that commercial and I see Michigan. But more importantly, I see HOME.

I'm  slowly coming up to a point in my life where I've lived OUT of Michigan more than I have in. (It's been 15 years since moving out of state). But until the day I die, Michigan will ALWAYS be home to me. What I've also noticed is that a lot of my friends who've I've grown up with or gone to school with also feel the same. It doesn't matter if we no longer live in Michigan, there's that love there that anyone who's ever grown up in Michigan knows what I'm talking about.

When I look back on it and see what Detroit is TRYING to do with the commercials, tv shows and the movies - I'm like, "Go kick some Ass Detroit!'  You can really tell in the last couple of years that the city of Detroit has been trying really hard to put itself back out there.
Of course getting ranked the  #2 Most Dangerous City, doesn't really help it's cause. But that's neither here nor there.

The economy has also taken a HUGE toll on the restructuring of the city. I had read/heard that during the census, the ONLY state to lose population was Michigan! Times are tough for a state that relies on the big automakers to keep it afloat. I mean, there's only so much bowling and ice fishing a person can do before they trade in their hunting bows for a Micky D's hat and realize what once worked back in the 80's no longer works now.

But no matter what, I will always love Michigan and if it's Detroit that is representing my state, then I have no choice to but to cheer on the Motor City!

I'm proud to say that I'm Imported from Michigan!

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