Also my husband wanted me to post this information.
First of all We want to thank everyone for the help. When pulling the hub off the rear differential we found that by removing the large CV boot strap and removing the CIRCLIP the axle can be removed. We then wiped the grease from inside the hub and re-installed the old axle and CIRCLIP.
This allowed quicker force when pushing in the axle and pulling quickly outward acting as a slide hammer. This seemed to make the removal easier, the grease in the hub seemed to slow down the force applied when pulling outward.