Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Will Come

Being part of a RS presidency I get the opportunity to teach the first Sunday of the month about four times a year. Normally I don't have a hard time coming up with a topic {the other councilor in the presidency told me once I could talk the back legs off a donkey:)} But this time I really struggled with what I should teach. I wanted to talk about healing broken hearts, the grief process and being made whole, but was having a hard time tying to pull it all together...until I came across the talk "Sunday Will Come" by Joseph B Wirthlin (November 2006).

This is the presidency message for the March newsletter and yes I am happy with myself for getting it done before March....yeah me

Dear Sisters,
In Mathew 11:28 we read:
Ҧ
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

All of us have times in our lives when we experience frustration, disappointment, heart ache, grief, and/or loss. It is my testimony that there is help, hope and healing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Elder Joseph B Wirthlin in a talk entitled “Sunday Will Come” said this speaking of the Friday on which our Savior was crucified:

“I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest.
But the doom of that day did not endure.
The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind.
And in an instant the eyes that had been filled with ever-flowing tears dried. The lips that had whispered prayers of distress and grief now filled the air with wondrous praise, for Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, stood before them as the firstfruits of the Resurrection, the proof that death is merely the beginning of a new and wondrous existence.
Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.
But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.
No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come.”



I know with surety that our broken hearts can be healed and that peace can come into our lives again. With the help of the Atonement , dear friends and patience with ourselves it is possible for our hearts to be made whole.
Much love,
Sister Robin Kramer

Forever Young :)

Grant and I met and married young...How can you tell??? Our first date involved the movie "Wayne's World", and we thought it was the best movie we'd seen to date:)
Our Mother in Laws accompanied us on our entire honeymoon...Grant's mom brown coat, My mom stunning in pink. Long Beach, West Coast Vancouver Island.

"A Whole New World" from Aladdin was the theme song for your wedding reception. Disney Animation. What more can I say??


We thought we were the most happening parents ever in Mickey Mouse overalls and surfer shirts.



Things have a funny way of always working out. The day we were sealed as a family June 1994.




Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spring Cleaning Fever :)


The desperate search for a pair of fingernail clippers started an avalanche of spring cleaning in Casa de Kramer yesterday & today and the rug rats are nearing revolt :)


While the kids were at school yesterday I begun my search in the bathroom (most logical place to keep clippers, right?). When I opened the first drawer, I came to the realization that not even a Saint Bernard could find anything in there. Thus began my gutting of all three bathrooms. By the time the first kid came through the door the bathrooms were sparkling. Yes I was pleased with myself.....but still no fingernail clippers :(....


Now it was on to the couch cushions. "Where in the world does all this stuff come from??? More pens, pencils and scissors than a 1st grade classroom, more hair elastics and Bobbi pins than a Beauty Salon, enough silverware to set the table and enough candy wrappers to count for a supreme Halloween hoard. And yes,wait for it.....FOUR pairs of fingernail clippers. Yes! Purpose accomplished. :)


But now I have the spring cleaning bug....Grant's working for the weekend, the weather is crappy and all the rug rats are home. Perfect timing....


I am watching the rug rats sort socks as we speak :) I'm lovin' it! Rug rats, Not. So. Much.


Sparkling clean house...here we come :)


Friday, February 25, 2011

I Really Lived, Have you?

This quote always makes me smile, when I feel weighed down by life's demands.....


"'I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautiful tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk's lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt form making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my nails from helping weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheek and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived. '
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley"

Not Perfect Yet? :)

"Our perfect Father does not expect us to be perfect children yet. He had only one such Child. Meanwhile, therefore, sometimes with smudges on our cheeks, dirt on our hands, and shoes untied, stammeringly but smilingly we present God with a dandelion--as if it were an orchid or a rose! If for now the dandelion is the best we have to offer, He receives it, knowing what we may later place on the altar. It is good to remember how young we are spiritually."

All time favourite quote from Elder Neal A Maxwell

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Where's Yer Toque???


"Where's your Toque Dallyn??" He looked at me like I was speaking Swahili. The look is standard for a school morning but...." Why do I have to wear a toque, Mom???" "Dallyn its COLD!!!!"..... Shoulder shrug, sigh and eye roll, come standard.


Being a mother for the last 17 plus years has taught me one thing.....

PICK YOUR BATTLES!!!

We live on Vancouver Island and our location usually shelters us the proverbial Canadian Winters, so normally a hoddie is sufficient and normally my philosophy is if they freeze or get soaked, "That will learn 'em". But this morning it was minus 15 C with the windchill (stop rolling your eyes you prairie people that's cold for us Islander's) and the wind is supposed to pick up this afternoon.
So,I dug my heels in and wouldn't let anybody leave without a toque, mitts and jacket on their bodies.(Do you know how hard it is to find five pairs of matching mitts???) And now, I'm the most POPULAR Mom ever! ;)......

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's a Party!!! well kinda :)

Sister N called me to let me it was Sister W birthday yesterday.....She failed to mention that it was her birthday two days later as well....But I have my ways of finding out things :) So we had them over for dinner and through an impromptu party....We partied in the only way us Mormons know how...... copious amounts of FOOD & SUGAR!!!



Three families joined us for cake and ice cream...best I could do on a few hours notice...We had 25 people....so yes it indeed felt like a PARTY :)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTERS!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lost and Found Peace


We loss mom seven years ago today.....Today is the first time on this day (in seven years) that I have not dreaded it. The first time I can say I am at peace with the loss of my mother and no longer overwhelmed with the heartache. We survived and the peace did come but there are a few things I wish I had known before, losing a loved one...


No matter how prepared you think you are, you're NOT

Mom had been sick for a very long time and I honestly thought I had dealt with most of my grief before her passing. I thought her passing would be a relief, a chance to move forward. I was not prepared for the things I would miss. I missed her voice, would I remember it. The way her grandchild made her face light up. Would they remember her.


Never give your Mom's eulogy

"You have a way with words-you do it", is how I remember the conversation going with my Sister. Public speaking has never scared me, how hard could this be I had naively thought. I was not prepared for the title wave of emotion that hit me as I stood behind that pulpit. I sobbed through most of it. Do over- Write it and let some one else read it.


People will say stupid things and its okay

I could list so many things funny things, hurtful things, weird things...People would say "At least she's at peace now." and I would bitterly think well "I'm sure not!" But it was all better than people saying nothing. Nothing was the worse. Nothing didn't acknowledge that my mom had lived a life had done many good things. It didn't acknowledge my broken heart. Please always say something....One of the sweetest comments was "I cried for you today!"


Funeral directors are usually right

"Teacher's don't take days off to attend funerals" he told us, when we planned her funeral for a Friday afternoon. What the heck does he know I thought. As Kelli and I headed the procession into the chapel, my heart sank as I realized how few people were there...The lesson for all...Remember funerals are for those left behind and your presence can provide great comfort to those who morn.


Decisions, decisions, decisions will exhaust you.

You will never answer so many questions in an hour in your life. As we met with the funeral director I had no idea there were so many details to decide. Always take someone with you that has been there before and can help walk you through it.


Casket prices will shock you.

Mom's casket cost more than our Van did...was I the only one who saw the flawed logic behind this??? Maybe its cause I'm so cheap but still. we were very blessed that there were funds available to us and Kelli and I did not have to foot this burden.


You will never like the smell of carnations again

I have hated the smell of carnations ever since my Grandmother's funeral when I was thirteen. So when it came to flowers I forbid them....only problem is You can't get sunflowers(mom's favourite flower) in southern Alberta in February. They were however able to find Gerber daises that worked beautifully. Such a relief to me. I still have my carnation hang up. Its funny what you worry about in the middle of loss.


Peace comes in pieces, but it will come.

At the time I was hell bent on going through the grief process at super sonic speed. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance...Three months, tops Plenty of time, then I can just move on. I was just plain wrong. Grief is not a race. You will go through all the stages more than once and in no apparent order. The peace comes in pieces a fragment at a time. It is only now and with the gift of time, that I can look back and see the healing that is still in progress. Be patient with yourself.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thrifty Jackpot

Today I felt like I hit the jack pot at the second hand stores.... $3....a solution to pancake batter every where

$2.50....I think its cute, what you didn't know I could paint ??


$0.49....microwave egg poacher....of course my kids have a hot breakfast EVERY morning ;)

$4...Score I just save $100 on shoes for Alex

$3.....an iron with a retractable cord....who knew

$6....my crock pot went to small appliance heaven last week....the only reason I went shopping today.
$19 well spent. Oh the simple joys in life :)





Sunday, February 20, 2011

Simple Gifts

Seven years ago this week I was rushing back to Southern Alberta to plan my Mom's funeral. The circumstances of my Mom's death only added to the deep pain and heartache. We were wounded. How could healing and forgiveness ever happen with so many unresolved issues??? I honestly doubted that peace would ever be apart of our lives again.

But there have been many tender mercies. Simple gifts for my sister and I. Real glimpses into Mom's true self.

First, several months after her passing, as we were going through boxes of her personal papers we came across the original copy of her Patriarchal Blessing still in its envelope, postmarked from Salt Lake City, more than forty years before. A document we had believed had been long before lost. In reading this precious gift we knew my Mom was a daughter of God and had fulfilled a very special purpose in this life...

Then last week, I was searching through her things looking for pictures. I came across what I thought was just a binder full of notes from a class my Mom had taken after we had moved to Canada. When I actually opened it I realized it was her final paper from her Special Education teaching diploma, the topic, the story of MY life.....

I was born with some significant challenges, something my Mom never really spoke openly about, I think in an effort to protect me. Most people just thought I was weird, awkward and clumsy.....all true but I also have cerebral palsy.

It is surreal to read about your own life from an other's perspective, but as I read through her pages I was truly humbled by her honesty in a matter that was still so tender. She was determined to give me the best outcome possible. Four days a week of physical, occupational and speech therapy for more than a decade. More than a dozen doctors and specialists. Staying in California after my parents split up so that I could have the best pediatric orthopedic specialists reconstruct my feet and the refusal to let any labels limit me. I think it is only as a mother myself that I can truly understand the extent of her sacrifice.

She did love us, I no longer doubt that. I will never know why mental illness has touched our family in such a profound way. But I know with certainty that I can have peace without that answer and gratitude for simple gifts.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sunny Afternoon :)

Yesterday after the morning snow storm the sun came out and made for a be. a. u. t. ful afternoon...So when a friend called and asked if I wanted to go sightseeing, it wasn't hard to say yes :).....Maggie took these great shots of our adventure.... This is Kye Bay from above. Snow on the beach is so pretty.
An eagle perched not to far from us, I love that you can see the feathers blowing in the stiff breeze.

Powell River Ferry crossing the Georgia Straight. The wind made for some impressive white caps on the usually calm water.

Six inches of snow in the morning and warm sun in the afternoon....And you wonder why we love living here???

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shovel Money

We have had crazy weather this week from high wind and rain Monday and Tuesday....

Yes I made them walk home in it and yes Dallyn was wearing shorts.
To snow Wednesday and Today..... Today there was enough snow to shovel. So Maddie, Alex, Bailey and Dallyn went out and offered to shovel in the neighbourhood. They came home with $120 between the four (really three, Dallyn lasted half a driveway before he came home) of them. For two hours of work, not bad at least the won't try to hit us up for cash for a while :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My "Thick" Superman


My Superman has been "slightly"(according to me) "majorly"(according to him) under the weather this week with a pesky cold. Instantly reminding me that there is nothing sicker than a sick man. He phones from work every hour or so to remind me he's still "thick". He brought home a bag full of NyQuil, Cough Drops and menthol scented tissues just in case we didn't believe him and the whole house now smells like Vick's Vapor Rub and pancake syrup (he keeps eating waffles).

I have tried to remain patient and loving, well at least smiling and silent :).....Today I noticed that his cough drop wrappers piled on the computer desk had little sayings on them.....

KEEP YOUR CHIN UP

MARCH FORWARD

YOU'VE SURVIVED TOUGHER

YOU'RE A CHAMP

NOTHING YOU CAN'T HANDLE

and my all time favourite....

DON'T TRY HARDER, DO HARDER :)

Apparently when you're really sick having your wife repeat these over and over again, doesn't really help.

Feel better soon honey, You're a champ!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tears for Dad

I have spent the last several days trying to convince myself that my Dad is just having a bad week. But, today when my Dad called I instantly knew things have changed....

He told my he was petting the puppy I sent him and wanted to thank me for sending it to him....After a few seconds of racking my brain, I was able to determine he was talking about a stuffed animal resembling Tater we gave him several years ago. I am still not sure if he understood if the "puppy" was not real.

He then continued to tell me that he has some mice visiting his house. I said Dad its not good to have mice in your house. He replied "He left the doors open, but they didn't seem to want to leave...." Dad you need to set traps or call some one" to which he said " That's OK I don't really mind having them around, they're not bothering me any."

My heart sank. He's getting worse, way worse...

My Dad has refused all offers for help, won't be assessed medically and becomes instantly hostile when we express our concerns....

How long do we let him live like this?? How do you help someone who won't let you help?? When does the need to keep him safe take away his right to choose his circumstances??

Today I have shed a few tears....
Tears of frustration, tears of heartache, tears for Dad.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tater: The Lazy Wonder Dog

When we got a Jack Russell puppy more than 5 years ago several people warned us that they are wild and crazy. My thought was well at least he'll fit right in.....Only thing is no one ever mentioned this to Tater....We got ourselves the laziest Jack Russell around....I swear he sleeps 18 plus hours a day. The Couch or warm laundry are his favourite spots. As soon as the kids leave for school in the morning he's back asleep within minutes....
The only thing that interrupts his slumber....The extreme hate he has on for our mailman. At the first hint of movement through the mail slot Tater channels the Tasmanian devil and is at the door shredding the mail...I usually make it to the door before too much damage is done. I find a couple of teeth marks through the hydro bill kind of amusing :)
But yesterday my wonder dog has started a whole new level in his mail phobia. He laid down on the mail and wouldn't let me touch it for at least ten minutes. Growling, teeth, the works. After that he was back on the couch asleep in seconds.
Yup, he's our lazy, neurotic, wonder dog, in other words he fits right in :)

Birthday Surprises

After realizing with our "starter child" Holly that 14 was too young to own a cell phone, we have established their 16th birthday as the "cell phone" birthday. Bailey was very much anticipating the coveted gift.....but SURPRISE its pink :) She love it anyways and it took all of thirty seconds to send the first text message to Holly..... Now with two cell phones in the house we have established the additional rule of no texting each other in the house.....



Bailey forbid us from making a big deal of her birthday but that didn't stop her friends from doing it......

They HEART ATTACKED our house and it was awesome.



Most of it survived the wind and the rain until Bailey came home.....




Bailey LOVED it!!!! She even shared the candy with all of us. Thanks guys for making her day.




Dallyn's Birthday Cake made by Holly...
Worms & Dirt....YUMMY!

Can anybody say SUGAR HIGH :)








Monday, February 14, 2011

What Did We Do LAST Valentine's Day???

What We Did LAST Valentine's Day!!!!! (the day Bailey was blessed Feb 19,1995)
Christmastime 1995 Holly 23 months, Bailey 10 months, Me 7 months preggers with Madison (Grant & I were 21)

Sometimes we say things ONCE that our sweethearts never let us live down, Right, honey??,




At some point on or around Bailey's Birthday/Valentine's Day, my Superman will say....


"Hey what did we do LAST Valentine's Day???"


said in his most sarcastic tone possible. Here's why.....




One Valentine's Day 1996/ Bailey's First Birthday we were grocery shopping in Port Alberni. With Holly just 2 year old, sitting in the cart, Bailey one in her car seat and me 8 months preggers with Madison (please add your best rabbit joke here). I was in the bakery section and picked up a package of heart shaped cookies for the girls as I hear my Superman pipe up behind me....


"Hey Robin, What did we do last Valentine's Day??"


Me in all my hormonal glory,realizing that he wasn't being sarcastic....


See that!! (pointing to Bailey in the car seat). He had HER!!! REMEMBER!!!


"Oh, Oh Yeah" was my brilliant Superman's reply.




So the question "What did we do last Valentine's Day??" has become Kramer Family legend.




Happy Valentine's Day to the best SUPERMAN in the whole world!!!


I love you, forever and a day!!!

Sweet Sixteen

Jordyn, Bailey & Dallyn, Summer 2010
Bailey turns 16 today!!!! Shhhh, don't mention its Valentine's Day. Too many hearts and the colour pink causes Bailey to revert to the fetal position ;) Its all my fault. When she was little I used to try to pass off those cheap, grocery store, heart shaped cakes in the red foil pan, with the plastic decorations,(yes those ones) as a birthday cake....When she was seven she told me that was no longer acceptable. But the damage had already been done :)

Bailey our....
deep thinking
exceptionally tender-hearted
sweetly sarcastic
quietly confident
all things purple loving
ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE
Happy Birthday Bailey, we love you!!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fifteen

Alex's first pair of shoes from my Dad were identical to these :)


Fifteen....the number of times my Dad has phoned in the last 24 hours.

Tonight my heart hurts. I made the mistake of mentioning to Dad that D & B birthdays are today and tomorrow. No matter how many different ways I tried to explain it, my dad has struggled to understand which Grandchild on which day.

He has phoned and wished Dallyn & Bailey Happy Birthday(after I explained which kid he needed to talk to) 3 times each not remembering the previous calls....

Dad use to go shopping for his grand kids Birthdays. His favorite thing to buy each of them was the latest style of Van's Skater Shoes (The original Van's Factory wasn't too far from where my Dad lives). All of the kids first pairs of shoes were from him.

Now even a phone call, on a birthday is tremendously difficult for him.

My Dad can't remember his Grand kids birthdays....and that makes my heart hurt.


************



I came across this story a couple of weeks a go ..."SIGNS"....It touched my heart. It explains exactly how I feel sometimes, as I have faced heart ache in my life.....





Read SIGNS here:
http://kidzorg.blogspot.com/2011/01/signs.html

Birthday Boy

My baby turned eleven today.....I have no idea were the time has gone.....Dallyn is our
surprisingly FEARLESS
kind HEARTED
outdoor LOVING
lego BUILDING
never stops TALKING
comic GENIUS
who is a
JOY to our family....
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DALLYN !
We love you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Alex's Song

Our Alex has always been pretty shy and hates being put on the spot. When she agreed to start voice lessons a few months ago, I don't think she ever thought she would have to perform, let alone in public. Tomorrow morning Alex is participating in a music festival here in Courtenay.....

The American Folk Song "The Water Is Wide"
video

The fact that Michelle W (music teacher) convinced her to at least try it, proves that Michelle is some kind of miracle worker. They don't allow us to record her tomorrow so she let us record a snippet tonight so her Grandparents could see it. We all know it takes a lot of courage to try something way out of your comfort zone...we are so proud of you

***Alex did awesome!!!! She was SUPER nervous but she did it. The adjudicator was fantastic and said some really nice things about Alex's great pitch and pure sounding voice and gave some helpful tips to work on her confidence. Alex's said she wanted to do it again next year. What a great opportunity to learn and grow.***

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Cupid Babies

Apparently I liked have babies in the middle of February.... Bailey on Valentine's Day....
And Dallyn five years later on the 13th....
Can't decide who was a cuter baby (oh yeah, I'm the Mom I'm not supposed to pick favourites).
They were both great babies and became terrorists as toddlers. Both are south paws and very sensitive. Dallyn loves having a birthday around Valentine's Day (extra treats). Bailey hates it with a passion. (something about the color pink)

I heart my cupid babies.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cherry Pie Confession

I bought a cherry pie (I don't make pie, ever its against my religion ;) for our FHE (Family Home Evening) dessert Monday night. World War III erupted at dinner so FHE didn't happen, I had good intentions....We had the pie Tuesday after dinner and here's my confession......

I love cherry pie...just without the cherries. Yes me, like a three year old, picks every single cherry out of my slice before I take the first bite.

My Superman thinks I need therapy (probably but for deeper reasons :) The rug rats say things like "What's wrong with you?!, That's the best part!" But my philosophy is "Fruit ruins dessert, if there is fruit in it it ain't dessert!!"

So there now the world knows....

I am a cherry pie sans the cherries, lover.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

That Poor Boy!

I'm still laughing after finding these crazy shots..... There is something about the "loser cruiser" that makes Dallyn instantly fall asleep.

His loving sisters take full advantage of this, providing many hours of entertainment.


That poor boy!



He is so loved:)





Back When They Were Cute :)

Last night Holly and I were trying to find a Memory Card that would work for her digital photography class. We found 3 that all had old pictures on them....Here are some favourites from when they were CUTE ;).... One of my all time favourite shots...Uncle Clint (& Auntie Chris) meeting Dallyn for the first time. Victoria,BC Summer 2000. Dallyn 5 months, Bailey 5 yrs, Holly 6, Madison 4, Alex 19 months

The Kramer Men...Dallyn was 3 ....I think that's Elsie Lake, Port Alberni 2003


China Creek Marina 2004....love the drift wood shots



Pachena Bay 2006....West Coast Vancouver Island




Underwood Cove Hike (China Creek) Spring 2005






Monday, February 7, 2011

How To Wreck Furniture

It's never too far into the process of parenting and/or pet ownership that you come to the realization.....
"You just can't have NICE stuff "
and here's proof....Our office chair
(although I could also take a pictures of the broken legs on the couch, the bunk bed, the toilet seat, Dallyn's door knob....ok you get the point)

Grant got this chair five or six Christmases ago from his parents, it was so pretty, and this is what five kids and a dog can accomplish(sorry Mom & Dad).....Yes that's duct & electrical tape (Grant's a red neck repairman). The side and bottom of the seat is all Tater. But the top of the seat and the arms are courtesy of the rug rats.....I am embarrassed to admit that my the kids piano teacher sits here every week.


I've been looking to replace our office chair for the last several months and been holding out for the perfect thrift store find (frugal or cheap, I answer to both). Saturday we found this at Sally Ann for $13. Yeah me!! Hopefully this one can survive 'til the kids leave home:)