Thursday, June 30, 2011

School's Out :)

School's Out for Summer....And for the first time I have mixed emotions about it. It dawned on me a couple of weeks ago that this would be the last Summer before the rug rats start graduating from High School. The last summer before we'll be entering a new phase of life. It just weird and of coarse me, I'm much too young have a high school senior....
This has been a calm, uneventful school year and the kids have all done well. Alex's report card looked like her teacher fell asleep on the A key. And even though Dallyn came home and promptly asked me how to spell the word "HAPPY" (making a B-day card for his friend),did great in language arts and the rest of his subjects, go figure?? The HS kids should know tomorrow
I always feel like I've run a marathon when we make it to the end of another school year and look forward to the lazy days of Summer

Homemade burgers and fries seemed like the perfect kick off to Summer. My Superman is a BBQ guru and makes the best burgers around. Seriously so good. {The secret...soya sauce, oats and seasoning salt, that's it}

Okay so don't report me...I deep fry food maybe twice a year and we'll be having salad for breakfast to make up for it. Nothing like home made fries. mmmmmm.
The best part was enjoying dinner on the deck with my Superman and perfect children, even though we had to tell this one multiple times that her inappropriate jokes were NOT. FUNNY. (no I wasn't laughing?). Lets hope the rest of summer can be this perfect :)

I hate to admit it but between the glass panels on our deck and our uv coated windows, we have multiple birds a week hit our windows...most survive, but it usually takes several minutes for them to get there bearings again. I'm happy to report this guy few away minutes later.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Me. Perfect. No?

So just in case you thought I was still perfect....Here is my week in review :)

Forgot to call the Mother-in-law until 4 days AFTER her 60 th birthday

Dallyn's casual dinner conversation with the Missionaries "Did you know the guy who drew the "Alice in Wonderland story board, was DRUNK at the time"

My children's lunches on the second to last day of school, consisted of cupcake(s), graham crackers, butterscotch pudding and Ritz bits sandwich crackers (At least they brought a lunch right?)

Got in a "discussion" with my eleven year old because he lost the first "Beach day" permission slip, filled the second one out with HIGHLIGHTER., requiring yet a third permission slip...I'm sure his teacher thinks we're the brightest bunch on the block.

My teenagers who are official out for summer, are still sleeping at 10:30 am and I don't care. The peace and quiet is lovely.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"A Work of Heart" and Saying Goodbye

When Grant and I left Port Alberni, the Ward there gave us a Goodbye Scrapbook, full of photos and notes. We consider it a true treasure of our time spent there. So when we finally came to terms with the fact that one of our favorite families here was really moving away. We thought it would be nice, as a Ward, to do the same for their family.....

So six weeks ago I sent out any email inviting all in our ward to contribute photos, letters, notes and anything else they wished to be included in a scrapbook.

The response was truly humbling. I kept having to replace the original binder with bigger ones, until we finally found a 4 inch binder, the biggest that still resembles a binder. It barely fit all of the pages.
The hardest part was keeping this a surprise, considering our families spend a lot of time together. Many times I scrambled to put everything away. But no one ever blew our cover....

The mad dash to finish, We had original planned to give the book to them privately. But realizing that the entire Ward had a hand in this, we decided to invite the Ward over for dessert and present the book then. We then realized that we had run out of week ends to plan this. So Tuesday and email went out inviting all for Sunday evening. Between Tuesday and Sunday. My kids, friends and the YW pitched in and we finished the book about 20 minutes before everyone arrived for dessert.

 And by everyone, I mean EIGHTY-ONE.(not sure we are zoned for that :) Not bad for short notice. That's small and simple, right, Michelle??? We were able to do everything outside and it was perfect evening.
Yes this picture is blurry(even after pulling out all the stops in my editing program)...and no its not to protect their identity. The taker shall remain nameless, but lets just say the Superman should pay more attention to the settings on the camera, just saying.

At the end of the evening,we truly surprised them and they we're great sports about it all, considering they are quiet, gracious and the last to seek attention or the spot light. No family should every leave a Ward without knowing that they are loved and appreciated and will be deeply missed. Thank you A, M, A, R, L, M for sharing your love and lives with us. You are leaving Courtenay a better place. We love you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Robin vs The Raccoons

So right in the middle of me watching Nightline, I was rudely disturbed by what I assumed were two cats fighting.....

Nope not two cats... two raccoons. In my carport. They really lose there cuteness when they are snarling at each other. I couldn't figure what they were fighting over...I then realized that one of my brainiac offspring had left the garbage bag right outside the door, instead of taking the extra millisecond to actually put it in the garbage can 3 feet away....
If I open the door they'll run away... Nope they moved 6 feet away and hissed and snarled at me. I made a leap for the garbage can tossed in the bag and jumped back inside and slammed the door, all while they glared at me with there beady little eyes....Oh yah and did Tater the useless Wonder Dog, come save me. Of course not, its after 9 pm and he didn't bother to jump off of Maddie's bed, he just growled at the commotion from safely under the covers....So now I guess I'll go to bed and try not to see those beady little eyes....

Monday, June 20, 2011

Alex Can Talk

Alex was asked to give her first ever, sacrament meeting talk on Father's Day. All of her siblings had a running bet on how long it would take my Superman to cry. They're such reverent children. I think Holly won.

Alex wrote this entire talk all by her self, and yes I was pretty impressed.....

Good morning brothers and sisters and Happy Fathers Day! Today I was asked to speak on the role of a Father. In the family a proclamation to the world, it reads; by divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. This means that a father is to care and provide for his family.

In the home a dad is to teach the right things to his children and to teach the gospel and set a good example in his home. A father must provide the things they need on their home and must be there to support everyone.

In the 2004 General Conference Brother L. Tom Perry stated Quote: “Fatherhood is leadership, the most important kind of leadership. It has always been so; it always will be so. Father, with the assistance and counsel and encouragement of your eternal companion, you preside in the home. It is not a matter of whether you are most worthy or best qualified, but it is a matter of divine appointment.”Close Quote. A father will always be there for you no matter what. In the 2001 General Conference Brother James E. Faust told of a story of a father and son.

In 1989 there was a terrible earthquake in Armenia that killed over 30,000 people in four minutes. A distraught father went in frantic search of his son. He reached his son’s school only to find that it had been reduced to a pile of rubble. But he was driven by his promise to his son, “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you!” He visualized the corner where his son’s classroom would be, rushed there, and started to dig through the debris, brick by brick.

Others came on the scene—the fire chief, then the police—warning him of fires and explosions, and urging him to leave the search to the emergency crews. But he carried on digging. Night came and went, and then, in the 38th hour of digging, he thought he heard his son’s voice. “Armand!” he called out. Then he heard, “Dad!?! It’s me, Dad! I told the other kids not to worry. I told ’em that if you were alive, you’d save me and when you saved me, they’d be saved. …

“There are 14 of us left out of 33. … When the building collapsed, it made a wedge, like a triangle, and it saved us.”

“Come on out, boy!”

“No, Dad! Let the other kids out first, ’cause I know you’ll get me! No matter what, I know you’ll be there for me!”

A father will always be loving and caring. He will always be there with you no matter what to teach you what’s right and wrong and to show you the right way to go.

Like the Father in the story I have a dad that is always there for me. With my dad having so many people to take care of he still has time for each of us. I know that heavenly father sent a strong, loving and caring dad and I know that he loves me and I love him to.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

You did a great job Alex.:)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

All Grown-Up

If there was every a picture that made me feel like "time has flashed before my eyes." It's this one....

Holly's BFF took this on Friday (Great shot Milena). Holly's last day of Grade 11. Wasn't it just yesterday that we dropped her off for Kindergarten?? I seriously can't believe how quickly the rug rats are growing up! I am humbled by the kind of people they are spite of the Superman and I. We love you Holly.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Honour Roll, Eye Roll

If contemplating faking appendicitis to avoid going to the High School academic award night makes me a bad parent then... guilty as charged!!! Its not that I am not shocked pleased with my rug rats achievements , I really am proud of them. Its the the sitting in a hot, over crowded gym, next to my Superman (who I forgot to bring snacks for) while we fight take turns with the camera getting shots of the back of peoples heads. While they mispronounce a thousand kids names, in a little less than three and a half hours....that takes a little convincing.....
Holly's photo was included in the top from the year

 I found it amusing that the two oldest rug rats hide their invitations from me,  while there ever eager sister handed me hers and gleefully threw thing one and two under the bus. Knowing that one and two didn't want to be there more than I...made the decision to go easy, I wouldn't miss it :)
 All three of them made the honour roll, seriously a proud parent moment.
 The brilliant Kramer sisters, of course it rus in the family ;)
We rewarded them with slurpees (shhhh don't tell them some kids get money or electronics) Does any one else find the irony in the fact that my three brainiacs decided to have a brain freeze contest all the way home...What can I say... they are Kramer by blood. Way to go girls, the honour roll, not the brain freeze :) 

Sing-a-long Success

As part of my responsibilities at church, With the help of many, I over see our Relief Society activities. Last night I faced a major dilemma....Weeks ago we had volunteered to do a sing-a-long at an extended care facility, how was I supposed to know it would land on the final game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was a tough decision. For me, I never knew hockey existed until I moved to Canada, but I know how important our national sport is to many..... Would there be enough Sister's to sing?....Would there be any one not engrossed in the hockey game willing to listen to us? After much thought, I felt we needed to go ahead with the activity.  I left the decision to attend with each individual.....Our RS sisters did not disappoint.

At the facility it took a few minutes to work out a the kinks but as soon as we started to sing, I knew we had made the right decision. Only a handful of residents were there to listen to us but the joy on their faces as they sang along and singing with dear friends, made it all worth it.

I think sometimes we mistakenly measure the success of an event or activity by numbers alone. When we do so we forget how important the ONE is. If we make the difference in one life, even if it is our own, we have found success.

I love this poem by Emily Dickinson (and not just because it says robin).....

If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain.

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.
I love serving in RS. I am continually humbled by the talents, strengths and compassion of each Sister. Last night a huge success.

Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God (DandC 18:10).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Alex My Little Padawan

The day our Alex turned twelve our sweet darling baby girl, turned into a character from the Disney Channel...At least once a day her siblings are begging me to tell her to Knock. It. Off.

Here is just a sample of the 3 minutes as we tried desperately tried to find everybody for family prayer....

"you have nice earlobes, maddie"
 "the dog will now be called  ta-TA",
" have you read Harry Potter, lately" (spot on British accent),
sang the jelly bean song,
danced around like an ostrich-flamingo-bird thing,
 told a [un-type-able] dirty joke,
randomly squawked like a pterodactyl

Dallyn "Can't you shoot her with a maturity dart or something?"

Holly: "You should have caged her the day before she turned twelve, you know!"

Grant begged her to stop. "Can't we be reverent for three minutes!"

Me: I was laughing so hard I couldn't see or talk.

Somehow we made it through family prayer.

There are moments that Alex drives me nuts. But she is funny, joyful and a breath of fresh air. Knowing her antics won't last forever I will egg-her-on enjoy this stage as long as possible. Alex I love you, my little padawan

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Winning, Losing and Bipolar

We have two family members who have battled bipolar disorder. One of them won the battle. Sadly my mother lost her fight. Those years of struggle were the hardest and darkest our family has every faced. We were strapped on a. never ending roller coaster ride. Like Space Mountain, just without the stars. It was terrifying. Words cannot describe the helpless heartache as you watch someone you love held tightly in the grasp of an illness you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

 Our journey is a deeply personal one that still invokes very tender feelings. I think the hardest part was as my mom lost her battle, my love was finally emerging from its dark mists. We had made it to the top of Mount Everest, a victory we could share with no one, at least that's how I felt way at the time. So few knew the magnitude of what we had survived.

Time and perspective has allowed us to share our journey with many. The lessons we have learned are profound. Be gentle with people....kindness conquers more than you think. I am grateful. For the illness no, but the lessons yes.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Permission Slip Overload

I have now lost count of the number of times the rug rats have needed my John Hancock on permission slips since the beginning of June. I think I have developed writer's cramp. And come on my older darlings, I was sure you would have mastered the art of the fake signature by now ;)

The days of the fill in the name at the top and sign the bottom slips are gone. You are now required to initial every paragraph, both parents have to sign multiple pages and two non family members MUST witness said pages to verify that your claim to the pedigree of the above mentioned off spring is accurate. All to cover the behinds of who ever is stupid brave enough to venture off school grounds with 30 orangutans and just in case they are abducted by aliens or trampled by stampeding zebras...

Alex's last slip required a grand total of 13 yes, 13 signatures. Not to mention every number attached to her name since birth. I also enjoyed the numerous warnings of death, dismemberment and/ or injury that could result from rock fall, lightening strike, sudden weather event, falling hippopotamus (ok maybe not that). Are you sure you don't want me to slap a helmet on her noggin and wrap the rest  of her in bubble wrap?

Filling out forms is the many only time(s) having  a boat load of kids is annoying :) So I sure hope my rug rats enjoy the rock climbing, dragon boating, cave exploring, museum (poor  Dallyn), beach, wave pool...All while I go get the carpal tunnel syndrome I am sure I have developed, diagnosed :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How D.A.R.E. You, Alex

Today was Alex's D.A.R.E. graduation....
 So happy our school supports this awesome program.
Way to go ALEX!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Maddie's Concert in the Park

Tonight was Maddie's year end HS band concert "A Concert in the Park" a.k.a. "How to get a sunburn without even trying"

The weather more than cooperated, if you never thought you could burn after 6 pm, you would be wrong.

All the bands sounded awesome and I thought the laid back beach feel was a great way to end the year.

For the first time in 7 years none of my children played the "Pirates of the Caribbean" theme. Thank-you & Amen  :)

Way to go Maddie. You done great.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Starring Bailey

Tonight was Bailey's year end Drama thing at the school....The Superman and I hadn't really planned on going until Bailey announced she had a big part in it, an entire monologue. So like the great parents we are...we went. Bailey had never really said much about her drama classes, so we had no idea what to expect and were a teeny bit worried how comfortable our somewhat reserved Bailey would be in the spotlight???

As we walked in Bailey's teacher said "Hi, Are you Bailey's parents?" We nodded. " I'm Mr. S, Bailey's drama teacher." " Are you guys LDS??" "Yes, Yes we are" I said trying not sound surprised at the question. {The last time a teacher asked me that it was to make sure one of my offspring was ethically aloud to participate in a Science class }"Oh I grew up in Lethbridge, Mr S said". "So did I" "Did you graduate at LCI?"  No CCH (Catholic Central High, located across the street from LCI) "Wow small world eh?" I said.  Mr S then told us he had done his teaching practicum in Cardston and seemed to very much respect the fact that were are LDS.

As we took our seats. Bailey says to us "I didn't know Mr S knew I was LDS?".... "Really, wow?"....

Bailey's performance was near the end of the night and as it was nearing I found myself being nervous for her...
The play was called "The Audition". As she entered the stage I was just hoping she would look up at the audience and remember her lines....

Bailey SHINED! She not only remembered her lines, but passionately performed a character deep with emotion and perfected timing. Grant and I sat there jaws dropped beaming with pride. Not the wow- my- kids- better- than- your- kid kind...No, the this kid who has always struggled to find her place, is now shinning in a spotlight all her own, kind. My heart soared for her.

Mr S came up to us after and said "She nailed it!, if only you could see where she started" . {Oh how we know were she started}"Bailey you should be very pleased with your performance!"

So happy we could share such an amazing moment with you Bailey. We love you :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Family "Fun" Time

Today, on the spur of the moment, we decided to take two of our teen aged trouble makers for a little "family fun time" (my words not theirs). Lets just say its been a challenging week in the parenting teens department. My superman and I thought some one on one time, in an inescapable moving car would do them some good.

We headed down Island with intentions of stopping in Parksville...45 minutes to lecture talk to them, perfect! A stop at Timmy's and a brief fight over control of the ipod (Holly knows Grant's a softy for Lady Gaga, that's just between you and me) and  by the time we got out of town the intended lecture, had been all but forgotten....instead we rocked out to Lady Gaga....

We pulled off at Deep Bay since none of us had ever been down there and discovered a beautiful little oasis, seriously so pretty. As we were driving around I made the comment "When I grow up I want a house with a view like this!" To which trouble maker #1 replied "When I grow up I want to live in Italy next to a vineyard owned by a hot guy!" (my daughter did not just say that)....okay so she wants to be a world traveller???

We spent a couple of hours down in Parksville and headed home....on they way home the teenage tension was gone and I realized our trouble makers didn't need a lecture, they just needed our time

Friday, June 3, 2011

Seminary ...It`s Over

Another year of Seminary (daily M-F early morning, scripture study class for high school students) ended to day with a breakfast worthy of a king. Waffles, berries, syrup, hash browns, bacon...yes my mouth is watering. When I went two decades ago we invaded the local Mickey D's and had hash browns and milkshakes (they turned it on special for us). I think my kids get a better meal deal :)

As a parent I love Seminary and judging by the fact that my kids never fought me on going and never slept through  their 5:30 am alarm they loved it too.

Seminary is a blessing. Besides making tired teenagers who actually want to go to bed, it reminds them daily that they have purpose and direction. They also learn to that the big, heavy scriptures they have carried around since they were eight actually have answers that they can understand in them, go figure.

A big, huge thank you to the two best seminary teachers in the world. Sister F and Sister N you guys rock.

My only worry now...five kids, three bathrooms...the fight over the showers will begin 7:00 am Monday June 6th . Should be quite the show :) So sorry you'll miss it!

My Lawn Boy

This is normally what Dallyn is doing....We call it the TV face. Either video gaming or watching TV. Being the baby and only boy he is Mr. Invisibility has soon as there is the whiff of work in the air. Seriously the boy has skills, if avoiding work was a sport he'd be in gold medal running.....
 We recently discovered a chore he actually begs to do....Mowing the lawn. Something about engines I'm sure. If it were up to him he'd mow the lawn every other day (not that I'm complaining). But we limit him to once a week. I think he ran home from school today just to get a jump start.
If I'd only known it took an engine...I'd a souped up the vacuum cleaner and washer ages ago :) 

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Holly's photo submitted for one of the galleries down town. Her project was on hands. These are Dallyn's. We didn't let him bathe for weeks in preparation for this shot... kidding, it only took an hour. :)  Great shot Holly, love it!