Thursday, December 30, 2010


Today (Dec31) my oldest turns 17...I honestly can't believe it.I wasn't much older when I had her and we have definitely grown up together. In spite of this Holly is an amazing kid.......
Beautifully bossy,
fiercely independent,
surprisingly self motivated,
runs circles around me in the kitchen,
plays the piano & loves Classical pieces like her Grandma Lynne,
a loyal friend
delightfully, slightly gullible
loves learning
a natural leader
a treasure to her family

We love you Holly :) (Holly's BFF Milena took all these shots this summer)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Beautiful Morning :)

If you have ever lived on Vancouver Island you know that the one thing in short supply around here from November to March is SUNSHINE. We get so much rain that we refer to it as "liquid sunshine". So when I woke up this morning to a second day of glorious sunshine of the non liquid variety, I nearly broke into song (OK I actually sang a few bars).... Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day, I've got a wonderful feeling, Every thing's going my way.
This is the view of the Comox Glacier in Strathcona Park, taken from our deck as the sun came up today. (I sure hope the neighbours didn't mind seeing me in my bathrobe :))

It was a beautiful morning and a great day...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Love To See The Temple

I love to see the Temple, I`m going there today......
Today our girls along with the youth from our ward had the opportunity to go to the Vancouver Temple to do baptisms...It's the first trip for our youth since the temple was dedicated. The sun was even shinning in Vancouver.
The Angel Moroni

Courtenay Ward Youth....We are so blessed to live in a ward where all the kids are friends and love to be together.

Ammon, Bailey & Brian

Holly & the Boys

(photo by Milena)
Alex & Holly....This was Alex`s first time doing baptisms. So glad her sisters could share this day with her.

(photo by Milena)
Madison on the ferry heading to Vancouver.

So grateful to have our Temple so close now. What a great day! For the girls, the TEMPLE and for me, having only one at home was so PEACEFUL :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Grant :)

Happy Birthday sweetheart.....Nothing says Happy Birthday & I love you like posting this picture. :) Grant, the day he came home (He he he he he he, oh yeah, HA HA HA HA!)
Grant, a couple of months old, hey honey when did your neck grow in :)

Grant 2 years (far right)...he still pouts like that

The Kramer cute, I think Lynette (mom) made all these clothes

Grant, Grade 5

Grant, Grade 10
Happy 37th Birthday Grant, man you're getting old!

A Very Kramer Christmas

We had a great Christmas this year. Spending Christmas Eve dinner with wonderful friends that feel like family. Eating, laughing 'til it hurt and trying to no avail, to prove the difference a black shirt and a blue shirt. (Andreas I don't care what Grant says it's blue;)) Grant was able to join us after finishing his crazy shift at Wally World. We then headed home just in time for bed.... But first the traditions: opening pyjamas, reading Luke 2 and singing Silent Night (my Dad used to play it on the guitar on Christmas Eve when we were kids. He was able to do this with my kids several Christmas' ago, a very treasured memory)
Christmas Morning began with Grant running to work to set the security system and by the time he was back the girls had breakie ready. Waffles, Bacon, Hash browns & OJ. Its so nice having kids that like to cook.

Opening stockings....the only thing Santa brings now, I wish I had started this tradition when they were babies. I love it that Dallyn is still so excited over matchbox cars.




Holly and the Snuggie

Look what Grant, I mean Dallyn year whatever I buy for Dallyn, I will buy identical items for Grant. There will be a lot less tears that way....Grant is still learning the art of sharing, apparently

Dallyn also had to share his R/C truck with tater....yup our dog is narcotic
We shared our Christmas dinner with 12 friends, which made for a great end to a wonderful day.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Favorite Christmas Story :)

This Christmas Story was sent to me by a friend last year and it has become one of my favorite....I am not even sure what the title is.....

For years now whenever Christmas pageants are talked about in a certain little town in the Midwest, someone is sure to mention the name of Wallace Purling. Wally's performance in one annual production of the Nativity Play has slipped into the realm of legend. But the old timers who were in the audience that night never tire of recalling exactly what happened.

Wally was nine that year and in the second grade, though he should have been in the fourth. Most people in the town knew that he had difficulty in keeping up. He was big and clumsy, slow in movement and mind. Still, Wally was liked by the other children in his class, all of whom were smaller than he, though the boys had trouble hiding their irritation when Wally would ask to play ball with them or any game, for that matter, in which winning was important.

Most often they'd find a way to keep him out, but Wally would hang around anyway - not sulking, just hoping. He was always a helpful boy, a willing and smiling one, and the natural protector, paradoxically, of the underdog. Sometimes if the older boys chased the younger ones away, it would always be Wally who'd say, "Can't they stay? They're no bother."

Wally fancied the idea of being a shepherd with a flute in the Christmas pageant that year, but the play's director, Miss Lambard, assigned him to a more important role. After all, she reasoned, the Innkeeper did not have too many lines, and Wally's size would make his refusal of lodging to Joseph more forceful.

And so it happened that the usual large, partisan audience gathered for the town's yearly extravaganza of crooks and creches, of beards, crowns, halos and a whole stageful of squeaky voices. No one on stage or off was more caught up in the magic of the night than Wallace Purling. They said later that he stood in the wings and watched the performance with such fascination that from time to time Miss Lambard had to make sure he did not wander onstage before his cue.

Then came the time when Joseph appeared, slowly, tenderly guiding Mary to the door of the inn. Joseph knocked hard on the wooden door set into the painted backdrop. Wally the Innkeeper was there, waiting.

"What do you want?" Wally said, swinging the door open with a brusque gesture.

"We seek lodging."

"Seek it elsewhere." Wally looked straight ahead, but spoke vigorously. "The inn is filled."

"Sir we have asked everywhere in vain. We have traveled far and we are very weary."

"There is no room in this inn for you." Wally looked properly stern.

"Please good innkeeper, this is my wife Mary. She is heavy with child and needs a place to rest. Surely you must have some small corner for her. She is so tired."

Now for the first time, the Innkeeper relaxed his stiff stance and looked down at Mary. With that, there was a long pause, long enough to make the audience a bit tense with embarrassment.

"No! Be gone!" the prompter whispered from the wings.

"No!" Wally repeated automatically. "Be gone!"

Joseph sadly placed his arm around Mary, and Mary laid her head upon her husband's shoulder and the two of them started to move away. The Innkeeper did not return inside the inn, however. Wally stood there in the doorway watching the forlorn couple. His mouth was open, his brow creased with concern, and his eyes filling unmistakably with tears. And suddenly this Christmas pageant became different from all others.

"Don't go Joseph," Wally called out. "Bring Mary back." And Wallace Purling's face grew into a bright smile. "You can have my room."

Some people in town thought that the pageant had been ruined. Yet there were other- many, many others- who considered it the most Christmas of all Christmas pageants that they had ever seen.

Merry Christmas Eve :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tis the Season....

Tis the season of peace, joy and love....But at our house today tis the season of locking your brother in the dog kennel, fighting over the computer and finding every excuse possible to get out of chores. And my offspring wonder why I am crazy??

If I hear "that's not fair!" or "she's looking at me!" one more time....

I swear my kids have secret meetings to orchestrate days like today,their tag-team effort is flawless. Their mission to "drive Mom to the loony bin" has been successful.

I really do miss the days when a nap and a meal fixed everything. When the kids were babies I used to think it will be so much easier,when they're older, they'll be so much more independent. It's not easier its just different...the challenges are less physically exhausting, but the MENTAL part makes up for it. I heard somewhere to treat your teens like mental out-patients and never anything true, so true! Some days, I think as long as none of them end up on Jerry Springer or Maury. I have been successful. Today is one of those days :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

FHE...Caroling,West Coast Style

A couple of days a go I suggested to Grant that we have a few families over for Family Home Evening..... My definition of a few families turned into thirty five people....Have I ever mentioned that us Mormons have a lot of kids and can never pass up the lure of cookies and hot chocolate.

We had the Sister missionaries share Luke Chapter 2 that they had memorized. Then all of us went to look at the Christmas lights on "Candy Cane Lane"(up the street from us) in the pouring rain (sorry guys). None of us minded getting soaked when we saw the looks on Brother Isfeld and his sweet wife's faces, as 30+ of us sang "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" on their doorstep.

We all returned to Casa de Kramer to drip dry over cookies & hot chocolate. Thanks everyone for sharing FHE with us and holding off on complaining about being cold and wet until you got in the car :) Next time I'll check the forecast before planning an outdoor activity.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Picture Perfect?

Did I ever mention that my kids are PERFECT?! Isn't this the perfect Christmas Card photo....taken in the surprise snow this morning Here's the reality shot....
That's more like it..... my not-so-perfect Kramer children

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sacrament Meeting Doodles

My kids always doodle and draw during Sacrament Meeting. It keeps them quiet and from bugging each other and me :). Normally Dallyn is drawing a shark or a fire-breathing dragon eating people. The girls are playing tic tac toe or drawing mustaches, glasses and beards on the picture on the front of the program.But today this is what they did..... Bailey

Its nice to know that occasionally the important stuff sinks in. :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Baking

Grant & I don't spend a lot of money at Christmas. We buy for the kids but ever body else gets homemade goodies. The only problem is in our house anything that even resembles a cookie never lasts long. So I usually have to get it all done and packaged at once, if it has any hope of making it to its intended recipient. Today I have spent the day baking....Cinnamon Rock Candy (I know the picture is out of focus) Super hard to find the Cinnamon Oil (extract is not strong enough) but well worth the search.

Dipped Shortbread

1c Icing Sugar

1lb Butter

3c Flour

1/2c Cornstarch
Whip butter for 15 minutes (or til your arm is sore) add everything else whip 15 more minutes
Shape into balls, press with a fork , bake 10 minutes. Once cooled, dip in chocolate.
***dipping anything in Chocolate, makes people think your the next Martha Stewart***

Sugar Cookies
My friend Dawn gave me this recipe 15 years ago and I've used it ever since. It works every time and is easy to roll out.
1/2 c margarine
1c Sugar
1 egg
2 Tb Milk
2c Flour
2 ts Baking Powder
1/2 ts Salt
Cream wet ingredients, mix in dry. Roll out & bake 10 minutes @350 F
Butter cream Frosting (from The Sisters Cafe):
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups butter

Ginger Bread, I actually use a Ginger Snap Recipe.
This is the icing recipe...icing dries hard.

Hopefully 75 % of these cookies make it out of the house, but we'll see. Tomorrow I'll tackle the Butterscotch Haystacks, Snowball Cookies, Toffee and Peppermint Cookies or maybe I'll just take a nap :)

Grandma's Ornaments

Since Holly was a baby Grant's Mom has hand painted ornaments for each one of her grandchildren for Christmas. This week we received a box in the mail with these treasures inside. Twenty ornaments in all, four for each of my five. I am always amazed at Lynette's gift for painting the intricate details that bring these ornaments to life. These will be treasured for many Christmases to come. Thanks Grandma!

My Dad Called...

This morning my Dad called. This is nothing unusual, he calls several times a day, every day. But today was different, I had a glimpse of the Dad I use to have. He was happy, asked how the kids and Grant were doing, remembered our conversation from the night before and told me he loved me. I am grateful for these moments with him.

Watching my Dad's struggle with aging, depression and boxed wine has been heartbreaking for my sister and I. So its the little tender mercies, like this morning that I try to hang on to. I found these articles of my Dad's tucked away in an old photo album last week. My Dad loves music, especially Jazz. I am grateful he has shared this love with my sister and I and his Grandchildren...even though it took me until adulthood to agree with him on the Jazz part.

My dad was honoured when he was invited to adjudicate at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, in Moscow, Idaho. Its a Jazz Drummer's heaven there. He has returned year after year for the last 19 years...He will not be returning this year. He is heartbroken that he no longer able to continue.

Dad on the front page of the local Moscow paper Feb 1997
I think my dad is always happiest behind his drum kit or in the front of a lecture hall teaching his "famous" percussion workshop. Its hard for me to except that even these things have become too difficult for him now.
Grant & I were able to travel down in 1997 to see my Dad in action at the festival. It was wonderful for us to share these moments with him.

Article from 1997.... I love my Dad. His love and talent for music has and will always bless our lives. It is a blessing that on his good days, like this morning I can talk to him, but on bad days when my heart breaks for him, I can still listen to his music and the music he taught me to love.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Letter 2010

I 'm amazed with myself for actually getting a Christmas Letter done this year.
If you receiving a physical copy of this letter requires anything to do with Canada Post. You probably won't get one. It's nothing personal, I just suck at mailing things...just ask my sister. So Merry Christmas and if your life can't continue with out an actually copy of this...message me you're address and I can guarantee delivery by December 2011 ;)


"Remember as far as anybody knows we're a NICE, NORMAL family"

Since nothing about our family fits into the standard Christmas Brag Letter and we are not about to start making things up. We have decided to re-write the classic Christmas carol "Jingle Bells" To give you a peak into the life of a Crazy KRAMER. Only thing is you MUST SING the following. (Come on I know you're already humming it)

Jingle Bells- Kramer Style

Dashing out the door;
Is everybody here?
Don*t forget our Dallyn;
We did that last year
On our way to Church;
Bailey can*t find her shoe
What*s that on your shirt?
Alex, did we bring that talk for you?

Oh laughing kids, barking dog,
Someone spilt their milk
Oh, what fun it is to be,
One Crazy Family
Oh, lost homework, laundry piles,
Where*d all the hot water go?
No one knows what*s for dinner-
So, It*s out for pizza we go!

And then the door bell ring?
Of course the house* a mess
Just ignore the dishes;
And all the rest.
Maddie*s bugging Dallyn;
Holly*s piano playing
What*s with all the noise?
I can*t hear what you*re saying

Oh, Who*s turn*s it?
Please stop that!
Because I said so!
Oh what fun it is to be;
One crazy family
Oh Merry Christmas from our family,
To all of you
Yes its crazy, but we;re happy
And hope the same for you!

Our family is healthy & happy. We have survived our new adventures in dating & driving with only a few gray hairs so far. It is wonderful to watch our children grow into the amazing people they are. We love "Island Livin'" and consider it a great blessing to raise our family in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We wish all of you the best in 2011.

All our love,
Grant, Robin, Holly, Bailey, Madison, Alex & Dallyn

Monday, December 13, 2010

Band Parent of the Year ;)

The fact that I am the offspring of two extremely musical people, one a retired high school band teacher makes the following post almost sac religious...but as a band parent of six years, I have come to the realization that once you've been to one concert you've to them all. I know bad parent...Don't get me wrong, I have complete respect and admiration for our kids band director he's an amazing teacher and the kids always play well and have fun doing it. There are just a few things that just don't matter the school or level.

1. The seats (folding chairs, bleachers, or plywood theater seats) are behind-numbingly uncomfortable.

2. No matter how few songs are on the program your will be there for no less than two hours

3. At least one kid always drops their instrument.

4. The "Pirates of the Caribbean" theme song will be played at least once.(the last 12 concerts, seriously) Madison asked Grant if he was able to come tonight...Grant:"They're just going to play "Pirates of the Caribbean" again. Maddie: "How'd you know?".....Here is Maddie's Grade 9 concert band playing it tonight...Well done girl!....My numb behind was well worth it. :)

Bethlehem Walk

At the last minute, our youth had the opportunity to go to the Bethlehem Walk, put on by the Parksville Baptist Church, down Island. This event recreates life in Bethlehem around the time of the birth of Christ. Complete with live animals, vendors and craftsman.....

But of course the ride in the "loser cruiser" is the most fun.

The kids a a great time... so glad they could go....Thanks Brother Schick for taking them.