Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nice Sweater, eh?

Grant and I were paging through an old photo album this afternoon and just thought We'd share a hilarious, yet terrifying stop on Memory Lane....

Christmas @ the Kramer's circa 1994 Me in the tackiest Christmas sweater ever (thanks mom!) and acid wash maternity jeans (I was 7 months preggers with Bailey at the time).
HAPPY DECEMBER everyone and bring on the Christmas sweater :) Go ahead, just try to out tacky me.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Alex the Party Animal :)

Okay another "Parent of the Year" confession ....I hate throwing birthday parties, I know I'm a bad mother. I normally stand my ground and get away with the "birthday date with mom & dad". Each of my kids has had no more than two "friends" birthday parties in their lifetimes, except Madison who has had one, she's the middle child, need I say more. Madison takes pride in making sure I will never forget this fact.....
So when all of my excuses were shot down when Alex asked this year, I agreed, realizing that in agreeing to one party I was in essence agreeing to five...someone help me.Fourteen of Alex's friends were able to make it and I have to admit it was great to see everyone having a good time ....who knew decorating cupcakes would be a hit but it was
A special cupcake Holly made for Alex....so she could do this.....

At least they let her blow out the candle first :)

Playing spin the bottle to open gifts (I will leave that alone;)....

Kaili, Holly & Bailey...fun things to do with oreos if you're bored (notice the oreo mid air by Bailey)

Donut game...still getting donut out of the carpet, but they had fun

The evening ended with the movie "Bride Wars" after that we sent everybody home with this...

the goodie bag....
the dining room BEFORE

My dining room after :) Making Alex's 12th- The Best Birthday Ever...PRICELESS :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Robin vs. The Rodent

**warning don't read this if rodents freak you out**

There is not much that freaks me out. Spiders don't. Snakes don't. The only thing in the animal kingdom that really makes my skin crawl is rodents. Any type. I haven't even allowed the kids to own hamsters, because they even gross me out.

I am aware that rodents (mice, rats & shrew) exists but, we have never had one in the house, thank heavens. I have on occasion seen shrews (the size of a mouse, with a really pointy nose) in the yard but that's rare.

Tuesday is garbage day, which I usually forget until I hear, the garbage truck back down the street. But Tuesday morning I actually remembered as we left to take the rug rats to school. It was -15 with the windchill, so Grant took pity on them.

Our garbage cans sit outside, at the edge of our car port, I went to take the lid off one can to put the last bag in....

Alex who was standing right behind me starts to scream, before I can comprehend what the fuzzy grey thing jumping towards me is...

The inner "school girl" in me takes over and my screams match Alex's as I run for my life, pushing Alex , out of the way...

Grant comes running out to see who's "attacking me" just in time to watch the RAT scurry down the driveway.

It took more than an hour for the adrenaline rush to settle down and for Grant to stop laughing at me. But,I think my skin is still crawling.

By the way, did I mention how much I still hate rodents!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl

Tomorrow, November 24th is my baby girl's 12th birthday and I honestly have no idea where the time has gone. I was thrilled to have yet another daughter, but I was at a loss for names, so Grant named her.... Alexandra Josephine....it even took me weeks to finally spell it correctly (could be why it is misspelled on her birth certificate, seriously) 1998
Despite spending the first two months in a full body brace to correct hip dysplasia & diminished hearing from fluid build up in her ears (both issues were caught early and easily corrected)...she was my easiest going baby ever. Plus, I learned that once you have three, one more doesn't make you any crazier.


Alex is our drama queen...if she get a boo-boo, her scream is the same whether its a splinter or an amputation. She is twelve going on twenty, the influence of teenage sisters.


She is super responsible, self motivated and excels at what ever she does...except at cleaning her room :)

Grade 6
I can't believe all of my girls are now in Young Women's. Life happens in the blink of an eye. Happy Birthday baby girl, We love you !

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oh SNOW!!!!

This Afternoon....Dallyn's Snowman.... He had to get out there before its all gone :)
Last Night.....

Okay I know our Southern Alberta and Utah friends have already started mocking us.... Overnight we got 6 inches of SNOW....out here any amount of snow can turn into an icy mess in no time, and because it snows only a handful of times a year (we never saw a snow plow last year), most are snow-phobic....

Even I can't believe 6 inches caused a 7 hour power outage though. Thank heavens the power came back on, just in time to feed everybody a late breakfast. The snow almost always falls here as perfect snowman, snowball making variety and because the kids don't see it very often, they are drawn to it like an alien to the mother ship. Most of them were out in it, first thing this morning, pj's and all.

Our Youth Are Super Heros!

Last night Courtenay Ward hosted a Nanaimo Stake Youth Dance which Grant & I had the privilege of chaperoning and embarrassing our deserving offspring....

Nanaimo Stake Youth are relatively small in number but that doesn't stop them from doing the seemingly impossible to get together. Our Stake boundaries are more than 440 km from the northern tip of the Island, south to Duncan; 203 km west to Tofino ; east to Powell River (Mainland), an hour and 45 minute ferry ride and hour drive north of Nanaimo.....Even under a snowfall warning we had kids come from Powell River, Port Alberni, Nanaimo & four that came all the way from Port McNiell 236 km north of Courtenay. As a youth growing up in Southern Alberta I could have never conceived driving nearly 3 hours to attend anything, let alone a 3 hour dance. But here it happens often.... The sacrifice of parents, youth and leaders here, is humbling.
It was a Super Hero's theme.... everybody actually dressed up. Twenty-eight kids who know how to party:). The two to one chaperon ratio kept the possibility of shenanigans to a minimum

Even the "loser cruiser" didn't miss out on the action :)
At the end of the night everyone had had a blast and I think us adults all realized one thing, Our kids are indeed SUPER HERO'S!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

At The Table

It was a three ring circus at the dinner table tonight (the fact that the words dinner & table are in the same sentence on a week night is a miracle). We sat down to homemade chili & cornbread...I was feeling ambitious and slightly guilty for the previous two dinners involving tater tots.

After threatening a few kids to settle down, or leave the table Grant announces that there is a Kid's Christmas Party for work....

Grant: "I get to be Santa again this year"....to which Bailey replies dead pan "I thought Santa had to be Jolly?!"

I nearly choked on my chili

Grant then said "there will only be gifts for kids 12 and under"....Alex begins to protest and then realizing that he said TWELVE and under starts cheering (sometimes there a little slow on the up take :) The older three are all suddenly "busy" that night until Grant says one more complaint and he would volunteer them for elf costumes....

Then Holly, who is doing her math homework at the dinner table (I pick my battles), rattles off a quadratic equation and asks for help....Grant starts to explain and I say "All I hear is wa...wa...wa (peanuts cartoon)" to which Dallyn not missing a beat replies " All I hear is grades dropping and then makes that whistling sound like a plane falling from the sky"

I nearly choke on my chili, again

Someday, maybe our dinner table will be a place of etiquette and refinement but I'm pretty sure that would require straight jackets and duct tape....

So be warned, if you are ever invited over for an "elegant" Kramer dinner, be prepared to choke on your chili :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pizza at the Potluck

I think from the moments we are Sunbeams, at least us woman folk, start learning the inner workings of the Ward potluck. From funeral potatoes and green jell-o salads with shredded carrots. The one with the most intricate-food storage utilizing- creation wins. It can be down right cut throat amongst us Sisters. There are those who spend days looking through the latest issues of Martha Stewart or Taste of Home hoping not to be out done by Sister-so-and-so.

Friday, as Grant left for work, he asked if I had everything I needed for that nights Ward adult potluck dinner. "No worries, I got it under control." At that moment I had every intention of making a masterpiece, really I did. But some how my day ended up getting in the way. So about 4 pm, when Grant called and asked what I was making, I realized I didn't even have time to "fancy up" frozen lasagna...As a joke I said " I'm thinking Little Caesar's" Grant: " You can't take pizza to a Potluck! " Me: " Why not??" Grant: "Because!" ....Well now I can't let Grant win, can I and really why can't you take pizza to a potluck???..... So the Kramer's (with Grant protesting profusely) brought Pizza to the pot luck. I even offered to put it in a "casserole cozy" to make Grant fell better ;)...."My" pizza was perched oddly among Sister R's homemade baguette and pesto, Sister S's Mexican rice bake, Sister W's shepherd's pie, and Sister H's pasta...
And guess who's dish was all gone first (I would never be competitive, would I?)...Thank heaven's we have lived in this ward long enough for every one to appreciate my sense of humour. Although Grant did suggest to the Bishop that me bringing the pizza should disqualify me for my calling in RS (no such luck ;)

After dinner , we all headed to the bowling alley for a 5 pin bowling....I hadn't bowled since High School and it showed....Everyone cheered when in the 9th round of the second game I finally knocked down ALL the pins (3 balls) Yeah me.

The night ended with banana splits.....The entire evening was a blast.
Who wouldn't love Courtenay Ward... Whether your potluck creation is from Martha Stewart or Little Caesar's its all the same :) Next potluck I'm thinking KFC....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

When I Am 80....

Sister Lowery (blue backpack) & Courtenay Ward RS hiking to Nymph Falls this summer

Today I had the privilege to attend a surprise birthday party for a dear friend of mine. Sister Lowery turned 80 years young today. Ever since I married Grant I have known Sister Lowery. She was a driving force in our ward in Port Alberni and when we announced we where leaving Port for the Comox Valley we found out that Sister Lowery was too. She moved here just weeks before we did and I was so glad to know I would have another friendly face at church. Today her daughter threw a party for her and all those dear Port Alberni friends of hers.

Sister Lowery is amazing, never misses an activity or an opportunity to help. She has the stamina of a person half her age. She is quick to smile and express her gratitude, especially for her family and friends. Today it was a privilege to feel of the love and respect, all who know her, have for her. When I am eighty, I hope I can be the kind of person Sister Lowery is.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Difference Between Men & Women :)

I found this awesome talk by Renata Forste, a sociology professor at BYU, after one of my friends posted it.... the talk was given at BYU's Women's Conference this year. The entire talk is well worth the read or watch.... but the following newspaper column Sister Forste shared was one of my favorite parts:

The humor columnist, Dave Barry, captured this well in a column published in 1998
called: Men should look out if a woman asks, ‘How do I look?’ Mr. Barry wrote:

If you’re a man, at some point a woman will ask you how she looks. “How do I look?” she’ll
ask. You must be careful how you answer this question. The best technique is to form an honest
yet sensitive opinion, then collapse on the floor with some kind of fatal seizure. Trust me, this is
the easiest way out. Because you will never come up with the right answer.
The problem is that women generally do not think of their looks in the same way that men do.
Most men form an opinion of how they look in seventh grade, and they stick to it for the rest of
their lives. Some men form the opinion that they are irresistible stud muffins, and they do not
change this opinion even when their faces sag and their noses bloat to the size of eggplants . . . .
Most men, I believe, think of themselves as average-looking. . . . Being average does not bother
them; average is fine, for men. This is why men never ask anybody how they look. Their
primary form of beauty care is to shave themselves . . . .[and] if, at the end of this four-minute
daily beauty regimen, a man has managed to wipe most of the shaving cream out of his hair . . .
he feels that he has done all he can, so he stops thinking about his appearance and devotes his
mind to more critical issues, such as the Super Bowl.
Women do not look at themselves this way. If I had to express, in three words, what I believe
most women think about their appearance, those words would be: “not good enough.” No
matter how attractive a woman may appear to be to others, when she looks at herself in the
mirror, she thinks: woof. She thinks that at any moment a municipal animal-control officer is
going to throw a net over her and haul her off to the shelter.
Why do women have such low self-esteem? There are many complex psychological and societal
reasons, by which I mean Barbie. Girls grow up playing with a doll proportioned such that, if it
were human, it would be seven feet tall and weigh 81 pounds, of which 53 pounds would be
bosoms. This is a difficult appearance standard to live up to, especially when you contrast it
with the standard set for little boys by their dolls. . . excuse me, by their action figures. Most of
the action figures that my son played with when he was little were hideous-looking. For
example, he was very fond of an action figure (part of the He-Man series) called “Buzz-Off,”
who was part human, part flying insect. Buzz-Off was not a looker. But he was extremely self confident.
You could not imagine Buzz-Off saying to the other action figures: “Do you think
these wings make my hips look big?” But women grow up thinking they need to look like Barbie,
which for most women is impossible, although there is a multi-billion-dollar beauty industry
devoted to convincing women that they must try.
I once saw an Oprah show wherein supermodel Cindy Crawford dispensed makeup tips to the
studio audience. Cindy had all these middle-aged women applying beauty products to their
faces; she stressed how important it was to apply them in a certain way, using the tips of their
fingers. All the women dutifully did this, even though it was obvious to any sane observer that,
no matter how carefully they applied these products, they would never look remotely like Cindy
Crawford, who is some kind of genetic mutation.
I’m not saying that men are superior. I’m just saying that you’re not going to get a group of
middle-aged men to sit in a room and apply cosmetics to themselves under the instruction of
Brad Pitt, in hopes of looking more like him. Men would realize that this task was pointless and
demeaning. They would find some way to bolster their self-esteem that did not require looking
like Brad Pitt. They would say to Brad: “Oh YEAH? Well what do you know about LAWN
CARE, pretty boy?”
Of course many women will argue that the reason they become obsessed with trying to look like
Cindy Crawford is that men, being as shallow as a drop of spit, WANT women to look that way.
To which I have two responses:
1. Hey, just because WE’RE idiots, that doesn’t mean YOU have to be; and
2. Men don’t even notice 97 percent of the beauty efforts you make anyway.
Take fingernails. . . . I have never once, in more than 40 years of listening to men talk about
women, heard a man say, “She has a nice set of fingernails.”
Anyway, to be back to my original point: If you’re a man, and a woman asks you how she looks,
you’re in big trouble. Obviously, you can’t say she looks bad. But you also can’t say that she
looks great, because she’ll think you’re lying, because she has spent countless hours, with the
help of the multibillion-dollar beauty industry, obsessing about the differences between herself
and Cindy Crawford. Also, she suspects that you’re not qualified to judge anybody’s
appearance. This is because you have shaving cream in your hair.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Parental Supervision Overload

Moments after having each one of my children, a flood of hopes and dreams for them filled my mind. Along with thoughts of all the "firsts". Their first steps, first day of school, their baptism.... Dax, Holly & Milena at TYC May 2010

Last night was Holly's first date (I feel old)...mind you, it was to the Stake Harvest Ball with her parents, his parents and her YW leader in the "loser cruiser". So there wasn't much to worry about from a parenting stand point. But I think the realization that our baby girl is growing up has caused at least Grant to shed a tear or two :) Holly and Dax are great kids. I actually admire that they were willing to tolerate their parents tagging along. We did promise to ignore them and sit on opposite sides of the Cultural Hall...Grant's "Carlton" dance was the only thing that horrified Holly :) But I think it horrified everyone. Holly was a great sport and we promise not to crash any future dates

Friday, November 5, 2010

The TV Sitcom Family

Last night we had the Cho Family and the Sister Missionaries over for dinner...The Cho's are from Korea, and have recently come to Canada to learn English. We met them last week through the Sisters who have been teaching English lessons. Their children and Dallyn & Alex are the same ages and the kids have become instant friends. It was wonderful to have them in our home and the language barrier was never an issue :). They commented that we seem like a fun, close family...like a "TV sitcom family" (this made Grant & I both laugh).

At the end of the evening the Sister Missionaries shared a short message and asked the question "How do we know we have a loving Heavenly Father?" A couple of us shared simple ways that we know. Then the subject of faith came up. Sujin, whose family has had no knowledge of Christianity or God or Jesus Christ, asked in broken English, What is this faith? and How do I know when I have faith? Bailey answered with a simple explanation: Faith is something that we believe in that we don't see or touch. We all have different levels of faith, something we must each work on. We must first believe and then ask Heavenly Father to help us know that what we are doing is right. That usually comes in a warm feeling in our heart or a feeling of peace and calm....(I guess early morning Seminary is a good thing ;)

I love the spirit that the Cho family brought into our home and the fact that friendship has no language barrier.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Volleyball...Who Knew?

Alex is quite athletic...Which down right surprises her parents. Neither Grant or I have a single athletic bone in our bodies. So I am assuming Alex's skills are some sort of weird genetic mutation....Today was Alex's first Volleyball game this year. Sporting her Valley View Tigers Jersey
Alex serving, and yes the ball made it all the way over the net. We only saw her doing the "duck and cover" once.

They all played well, the only thing all the teams struggled with, was understanding the mystical laws of rotating out...too funny! So nice to have at least one kid that is not afraid of competitive sports...Way to go Alex!!!