My Favorite Christmas Present(s)

Dear Friends & Family,

He walked in the door with a gift wrapped in deep blue metallic shiny paper. It was the most beautiful gift wrap I had ever seen. I was seven years old and he was Jim Gatson, a good friend of my parents. He had come to our house for dinner bearing gifts for my brother and me. I remember sitting through dinner staring at that present and dreaming of what could possibly be inside. Finally it was time to open our gifts. I was careful not to rip the the delicate metallic paper. Inside the box was a pair of white knee high boots. I couldn't believe my eyes! They were the kind of boots I could only dream of wearing, now it was a reality, I had white boots! I even saved the wrapping paper, I kept it in a special box under my bed for years. When Jim came the next year he gave me a real rabbit fur jacket and hand muff as white as snow. Even though our California climate was rarely cold enough to warrant the warmth, I wore that jacket and used the hand muff often. They were so soft and luxurious. Thank you Jim for the awesome memories!

We have had a fun and busy week! We love our friends & family!

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Pest Control Operators of California
Annual Family Christmas Party
Thursday Night

Friday Morning Cookie Exchange at Margie's!

Friday Night hanging out with our neighbors and Mike

Clarissa & Emily spent the weekend in Big Bear

Saturday Night - Home Depot Center
CIF Football Playoffs
Congratulations Cousin William!
2010 State CIF Champs - De La Salle

After an amazing Christmas Concert at
 First Baptist Church of Lakewood
everyone came over for a chili dinner.

Corbin & Lauryn exchanged Christmas gifts
Lauryn knitted Corbin a steelers scarf
Corbin gave Lauryn a necklace with a heart and a key :)

A visit from the Velaquez Family-Curt's Cousins
They were in town from Northern, Ca for CIF Playoffs
Robert, Veronica, boyfriend Ashkon, Cayden, Jazmin, Lyn, us and William the football champ!
Monday Night

Clarissa's Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
Tuesday Night

Krystal, Cayden, Johnny & Jacob

Clarissa, Melissa, Emily, Kiki & Christine

Ziemke Family Favorite Things

Dear Friends & Family,

It is only fitting this time of year that we take time to appreciate what we have and think of what we could give. Inspired by Oprah, if we could give our friends our Favorite Things, this is what you’d get from the Ziemke Family.

Corbin’s Favorite Things:
Fiji Water
My motorcycle
Hanging out with friends and family at parties at our house

Cayden’s Favorite Things:
Video editing
My truck
Good times with friends
Tommy’s & In & Out
The desert

Clarissa’s Favorite Things:
The smell of sunscreen
French Fries & Ranch
Lake Nacimiento
Country music

Cindy’s Favorite Things:
Iced Tea (especially from It’s A Grind)
UGG Slippers
Seat heater in my car
A soft down pillow

Curt’s Favorite Things:
The smell of the desert while riding my motorcycle
The sound of a Honda CR500 - 2 stroke
Sunrise while on a road trip
Sunshine on my body
Patron Platinum Tequila

We had fun creating this list together and guessing each other’s favorite things. We are truly grateful for all we have....from the simplest “things” to sensory pleasures. As a family, we are thankful for the gift of time and for the laughter which fills our home. And of course, we are thankful for our wonderful, supportive and awesome friends and family who have been right beside us throughout this journey. We thank God for giving us peace, happiness and hope.

This past week was super busy and super fun! Our neighbors Bob & Karen Knapp invited us to see Clint Black in concert at The Grove on Wednesday. It was an awesome experience being in the front row and center! We could almost reach out and touch him. Thanks Bob & Karen (and Adam). Thursday, Curt took Clarissa and her friends Danielle & Katie shopping for Formal Dresses in downtown Los Angeles. He really enjoyed the experience and laughter with the girls. It was all fun and games until their waiter at dinner rushed over to tell him his van was being towed away. Luckily Clarissa is a fast runner and a sweet talker; she was able to get them to take the car off the tow hook and settled for an $88.00 ticket. Our Friday girls group got together to celebrate Margie’s birthday at a sweet little tea house in Lakewood while the guys met for breakfast at Schooner or Later. Saturday we got our Christmas Tree and decorated it on Sunday, now our house is fully decorated and done-up for Christmas! Sunday night we enjoyed dinner at The Fish Company with our friends George & Denise. Today, Corbin’s class had their Chapel program and then he got to ride in a limo to Ruby’s on the pier as a reward for raising money for the school jog-a-thon. Go Corbin!

We are thankful for the busyness of the season which helps keep our minds off ALS and what it is doing to Curt’s body. Thank you for thinking of us and praying for Curt.


Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin
Clint Black Concert

Bob & Karen Knapp

Clint Black-this was taken from our seats. Pretty darn close!

Clarissa shopping with Curt in downtown
 Los Angeles for her
Mardi Gras Formal Dress

Lori, Margie (Happy Birthday), Jaime
Julie, Carolyn, Lynn, RaeLynn, Lisa, Me
at Margie's Birthday Tea

Ready to hang ornaments

Clarissa cracking up on the floor at something Cayden said.

Corbin's Limo Ride to Ruby's

Never Say Never

Dear Family & Friends,

Way back before we had kids, we used to tease our friend because she would always sit in the back seat of the car with her babies. She would tell me “never say never.” As the years passed, I would watch the stages she went through with her kids and think to myself “I would never...” She always seemed to know what I was thinking and would often remind me to “never say never.” Wouldn’t you know it, when Clarissa was born, guess who sat in the backseat with her on the way home from the hospital. Me. From that day on I learned to “never say never.”

When Curt & I decided to start a family we were excited to share all the experiences of caring for our babies including doctor visits, story time and diaper changes. There was one thing that I opted out of; nail trimming. For some reason I am grossed out by trimming fingernails and toenails. Oh and even worse to see a bloody stubbed toe, a smashed nail or a broken nail. I just can’t bear it. So from the beginning, Curt has always been in charge of nail maintenance...until now.

Because of ALS Curt has no strength in his hands and he is unable to trim his nails. A few months ago when I saw his hands were getting weak, I thought “oh no” how are we going to deal with this. One Friday afternoon, we went to lunch and I lured him into a Nail Spa. He told me “no thank you” to a pedicure and said he would wait for me. I wouldn’t take no for an answer and was finally able to convince him to try it. After only a few minutes in that comfy massage chair with his feet in warm water and all the workers swooning over his gorgeous feet, (seriously, everywhere we go people compliment him on his nice looking feet....whatever?) he was hooked. So for the last few months we have had “date days” at the Nail Spa. We sit side by side and hold hands while talking about the past or making plans for trips or parties. Curt has his regular girl Suzanne who does a great job keeping his fingernails and toenails trimmed. The last time we were there, while Curt was using the restroom, Suzanne asked me when Curt was going to get better (she thought he had hurt his leg). When I told her he had a terminal disease she immediately began crying. I felt bad for her, she could barely hold back the tears during his pedicure.

These days it is getting more difficult to get Curt out and about. It takes awhile to get in and out of the car, in and out of places and he gets tired easily. We still do a lot, but we have to limit our activities a little. I guess mani/pedis have not been a priority lately. I didn’t think much about it until the other night in bed when his toenail scratched me. Shoot, I knew there was no time for a visit to the Nail Spa for the next few days. So yesterday I took a deep breath and dove in and trimmed his nails. It wasn’t so bad. I am definitely not very good at it, but I got the job done. Yay! Never say never.

Along with trimming nails, I never thought I would have the nerve to give someone a shot. I slipped into that slowly. After “letting” Clarissa & Corbin take turns each night giving him his shot (injection), I just kind of hid out in the background. Then there came the night when no one was home but Curt & I. I had no choice; I prepared the syringe, found the spot on his arm and then closed my eyes as I pushed it into him. Each time I give him a shot it gets easier. Now it is no big deal.

This weekend I strung a new basketball net in the basketball hoop all by myself (under the direction of Curt). I repaired the ice-maker, organized the attic and helped Cayden & Corbin hang Christmas lights. These are all things I never would have done before.

Love is blind. Love helps me get past the things I am uncomfortable with and allows me to do what needs to be done. With love all things are possible. This disease is forcing us all to jump into areas that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable. We have each learned to “never say never.”

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Our Company Christmas Party
December 4, 2010

 The Mariachi Band

Corbin's School Christmas Program
December 7, 2010
Ice Cream with the Melanson & Gallie (not pictured) Families
 at Fuddruckers after the program!
Corbin, Lauryn, Camryn, Nathan & Baylee