Friday, December 30, 2011

Coming of Age

In about 7 hours from now, at exactly 5:08 am... The Superman and I become the parents of an adult child...
Hours Old
Holly turns eighteen on New Year's Eve. I never imagined that we would really make it to here.

Coming Home (I can't believe they let us take her)
Holly became our first child, in our first year of marriage.

Grandma Lynne
She was the first grandchild for Superman parent's and mine.

Grandma Lynette
Holly was the first newborn I had ever held and I honestly had no idea what we were doing or what we were in for.

Tired Superman
Luckily, she (not so) patiently taught us along the way.  

One Year
We all grew up together.

Grandpa Les
I learned what the true meaning of tired, patience, love, and purpose really were....

She learned how to cook eggs in the microwave and change a diaper by the age of three.

She is a born leader and keeps her siblings towing the line, better than me.


Happy Birthday Holly ! We love you and are so proud of who and what you have become.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Aftermath

We had an AWESOME Christmas....My Superman is finished his 11 day Christmas marathon work schedule today and now has a week to spend with his cabin-fever crazy kids, awww how relaxing :)

The In-Laws are here which has brought a sparkling clean house (of course we always live like this) and endless entertainment from the world's funniest Grandpa....

Grandma and Grandpa got Dallyn a RC helicopter for Christmas. The things is pretty cool with lights and everything. One rule, don't fly it near people's head....
"I wasn't that close to her head" Really Dallyn. Good thing Grandma was here to patiently untangle it for her. "Mom, would have just yelled and cut it out!" Thanks Dallyn.

Madison drew my name for Christmas....

Love this, my children know me so well and...

The only thing I actually asked for a "sock monkey" hat....yup I'm the trendy cool nerdy Mom. Now if the school calls, I have the perfect hat to show up in :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

{Not} Dreading Christmas

A little personal and long so I apologize now.....

Around Halloween I started dreading this years Christmas....It had been an uncertain Fall with Superman's continuing health concerns and I was already tired and overwhelmed. November 1 brought the annual glitter covered, commercial-Christmas frenzy that is the bain of anyone who works in retail and brought long hours and days for Super. The kids seemed to have endless commitments. My Father's declining health worried us greatly and no matter what kind of "new" math I tried, there was simply NO money for Christmas. I felt like our family was on the verge of falling apart....

Superman didn't need the added worry of figuring out Christmas, so I talked to the kids in early November and was completely honest with them. Together we came up with the idea of a one-gift Christmas, drawing names, and everyone would have to come with their own money to purchase that gift. Everything else could be homemade. Two Gifts,  Christmas Eve pyjamas and Santa Stockings was all I had to take care of.

Surprising unkindness and more health concerns at the end of November brought deep hurt and bigger uncertainty. We were just so lost, Christmas landed on the back burner....

Our first  Christmas card....Inside, a $100 bill....exactly the amount I had figured for the kids Christmas pyjamas....

A few days later, boxes and bags of food were left in our Carport and a FB message "we know the last several months have been rough"...I hadn't told anyone how empty our cupboards were....

Last week began, still struggling to find a place for everything we had on our plate and now dealing with the mad puking bug that decided to invade all Kramer rug rats. December sucks (and apparently blows) was all I could think....Monday night it dawned on me, the only thing I got done for Christmas was pyjamas, It also just as quickly dawned on me that our bank account wouldn't support any shopping until Friday, if then honestly. I felt so stuck and just prayed that everything would some how work out.....reassuring Superman that I had everything under control (sometimes, I lie like that).

Wednesday, started like most others, puke :) and then a conversation with my very upset and heart-broken sister...My Dad, who had fallen a week earlier, had just cancelled his non-refundable plane ticket, now refusing to travel to Utah and spend Christmas with her family. He didn't care that his actions had hurt anyone and his confusion and anger was just so worrying and frustrating....Why us? why me?  I just cried....

Late that night, a bubble bath, my first moment of peace....knock, knock, knock (can't I get five minutes of peace?) Mom!, WHAT?! "Somebody, just dropped an envelope on our door step?" "Well open it" "Mom there's alot of money it" I just cried...

I quickly got dressed....the card just said Merry Christmas....I counted....exactly the amount I had budgeted to finish on Friday...but I hadn't said anything to anyone?....I just cried and offered a prayer of gratitude....

Thursday, Christmas shopping begun and ended. I was able to find everything we wanted and had planned for with a few dollars to spare, which covered Superman's birthday gift for boxing day....

Christmas Eve our cupboards, under the tree and our hearts were full. As I shared our experiences with my sister in law, she said..."You sure have some amazing people in your life!" Yes we do, yes we do.

Even though we felt lost, our prayers were still heard,  our needs had not been over-looked. We had not been forgotten.

President Monson said....... when we keep the spirit of Christmas, we keep the spirit of Christ, for the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit. It will block out all the distractions around us which can diminish Christmas and swallow up its true meaning."

Words are inadequate to express what I feel in my I will just say thank you.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Big Brag (Christmas Letter 2011)

Krazy Kramer Christmas Brag Letter 2011

(A.K.A “Why we are AWESOME in 500 words or less”)

I’ve thought long and hard about this letter,(procrastinated) hence it being December 24th , but I cannot break with my epic tradition of two years so here goes....

Cannot tell a lie, this year has been nothing short of a TEST, a POP QUIZ of sorts, that none of us had studied for much less prepared for (pretty much describes all of my High School years)....The only thing I can brag about this year .....WE SURVIVED!

And since nothing says MERRY CHRISTMAS quite like a POP QUIZ, Let’s see if you can “survive” ours.....


a. The number of times you could see the floor in Holly and Bailey’s bedroom
b. The mental age my children turn into when asked to do the dishes
c. The number of teenage daughters now residing at Casa de Kramer
d. The number of Oreos left in the bag after I have said “Touch them and die”


a. The only Halloween costume I am capable of sewing
b. The only reasonable explanation as to why there is spaghetti sauce on my kitchen ceiling
c. A movie I never quite understood
d. Why Dallyn is still afraid of the dark


a. Amount of dollars left in our checking account after grocery shopping
b. The age the girls are betting Dallyn moves into the basement :)
c. Combined grey hairs our children give us, weekly
d. Number of loads of laundry I should do a week


a. The colour of the Sharpie I last confiscated from Alex, she was colouring the dog
b. The colour the carpet was last time we saw the laundry room floor
c. The colour of the “Loser Cruiser”
d. Favourite nail polish colour for Superman the girls

{1.c,2.b,3.d,4.all of the above is your happy-face sticker :) }

We are grateful for all the blessings and lessons of 2011. We leave this year with a greater appreciation for family, our dear friends and the power of the Atonement to work in our lives. We know with certainty that we are loved and watched over. We thank all of you who have prayed for us and laughed with us. We would not have survived 2011 without you.

Much love,

The Krazy Kramers

Grant, Robin, Holly, Bailey, Madison, Alex and Dallyn

2010 letter here

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Puking Kids = Bad Parenting :)

I am the first to admit it but at times I'm a BAD (read tired, overwhelmed and lazy) parent. This week is no exception....

We have had a nasty stomach flu fly through Casa de Kramer. It started Monday night with Dallyn and has subsequently hit everyone but Madison and Holly. I hate puke. I hate puke even more between the hours of 1 am and 5 am. The following is a list of all the BAD things this BAD parent has said to various Kramer offspring in the last four days....

Could you keep it down in there, people are trying to sleep.

Could you at least try to hit the ice cream bucket, next time.

Nobody is ever allowed to eat Kraft Dinner in this house again!!!

Not the couch, what possessed you to sleep in the living room.

Why don't you just sleep in the bath tub , kay?

Don't drink anything that will stain the carpet, that's why hey say clear fluids.

It's been years since we have had a puke fest on this scale. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it is now over. I would also like to announce that there will be no Kramer Christmas cookie delivery this year, for obvious reasons.  Unless you would like Christmas cookies that also come with a weight -loss plan...If so call me we can work something out ;)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Quiet Courage

When did things change, its hard to remember. Measured in days and weeks its almost unoticacle but measured in months and years the change is dreadful and drastic. How did my Dad go from the eccentric, brilliant musician, who had a life full of family, friends and engagements. To a man afraid to leave the house, full of anger and confusion. How did we get here.

Today he cancelled all Christmas plans, leaving my sister holding a non-refundable plane ticket, he will have nothing to open on Christmas and no one to spend the day with, no one to share dinner with. All his own choice.  Today I was actually angry with him. Angry at the heartache he has caused my sister and her family, angry that he no longer cares how his actions affect others. He no longer resembles the father I once knew. How did we get here.

But all the anger is overshadowed by immense worry. Something is dreadfully wrong with him. Neither my sister or I are in denial about that.  Neither my sister or I are able to drop everything and run. Neither her or I have the ability to force his hand. I feel dreadfully stuck, its like watching a train wreck in slow motion and being able to do nothing to change the outcome. A deja vu, of sorts....

Nine years ago, we placed my mom in care. We had no other option, the decision had been taken from our hands. I never imagined then, that that heartache would ever come again.

I pray for the quiet courage I need to face the decline of another parent, I pray I can find the strength to juggle yet another challenge.

I pray that bitterness does not set foot in my life.That I will see the tender mercies in all things.  I pray that at this Christmas season I will remember that my Saviour was not only born for me but is also there to continually succor and sustain me.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Little Monsters

I am in a mad dash to get everything done for is this afternoon's project...
my little monsters....for my nephew and niece in Utah...I know they probably won't arrive in time for Christmas. I've never claimed to be the perfect Aunt, but they are done BEFORE Christmas.That counts doesn't it ??
Now on to stockings, cookies, necklaces, coffee cozies......

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Teacher Gifts

I always try to give the kids teachers something for Christmas....It dawned on me tonight that that meant the kids needed something by morning and I'd better get busy.....
saw this idea on pinterest....
Clothes Pins, paper, modge podge, magnets, buttons and glue, and yes I had everything already in my crafting crap. (Yes I am a nerd)

Took me less than 2 hours start to finish...I didn't have to go to the store and it didn't cost me a cent....I love when that happens :)

Gratitude {times} 100

The First Presidency's message from the Ensign this month was The Choice to Be Grateful....Easier said than done sometimes.

For the first day of Christmas a couple of nights ago, as a family, we talked about all the things we were grateful for....each of us wrote ten things on a pieces of paper and put them into our gratitude box.....

Clearly some took this more seriously than others :)

Today I decided I needed to take the 100 Grateful Things Challenge....
So here goes (in no particular order).....

Physical Abilities Laugh Walk See Hear Laminate (jk) Smile Hug the Hokie Pokie look Busy Craft :)

Material Possessions
1.Washing Machine
2.Dishwasher(s) (also known as H,B,M,A and D)
3.Lap Top
4.The Loser Cruiser
5.My (Great) Grandmother's Rocker, China & Ice Cream Maker
6.My Bed
7.i Pod
8.Our Dining Room Table
9.Warm Clothes

Living People
1.My Superman
2.My Darling Rug rats
3.Our Dear Friends
4. Our Family
5.Our Church Family
6.Compassionate Doctors
7.Kind Co-workers
8.Quiet Neighbours
10.All funny People

Deceased People
1. my Grandma Beena
2. my Mom
3. my Great Grandma Ash
4. my Uncles Bob, Bill, Pete
5. my Grandad Glen (kindest man I have ever known)
6. Pres Gordan B Hinckley
7. Jesus Christ
8. Prophet Joseph Smith
9.Emma Smith
10.Joseph B Wirthlin

1. Sunsets
2. Sandy Beaches
3. Stormy Seas
4. Fall Colours
5. Rainbows
6. Shades of Green
7. Waterfalls
8. Soaring Eagles
9.Thunder Storms
10.Summer Breezes

1. A New Start
2. Daylight (I'd say sunshine, but its the we(s)t coast)
3. My VT's don't care if I'm still in pyjama's or if the couch is free of laundry
4. Superman's smiling
5. The rug rats attend public school :)
6. A Warm House
7. Food in the Cupboard
8. Christmas Carols
9. It didn't snow
10. Maddie's cookies for breakfast

Places on Earth
1. Home
2.Our Temple
3.Where ever my friends are
4.Music Performances
5.Ucluelet, BC
6.Temple Square
7.Kye Bay
8.Sprout Lake
9.Anywhere, where it is quiet enough to think
10.The beach, any beach

Modern Inventions
1. Medicine
3.Corrective Surgery
4.Toilet Paper
5. Caller ID
6. Headphones
7.Hot Water Tank
8.The Backspace Key
9.Store bought bread
10.Frozen Lasagna

1.All things Mexican
2.Cherry Pie (minus the cherries)
3.Beef Dip
4.Fettuccine Alfredo
5.Superman's Burgers
6.Any dessert involving lemon
7. Fancy Hot Chocolate
8. Hot Apple Cider
9. Potato Bacon Chowder
10.Anything I didn't have to cook (except fish)

1.Principle of Hope
4.Primary Songs
5.Stake Conference
6.the phrase "to Succor"
7.Family History
8.Relief Society
9.The Welfare Program

Gratitude is a choice and something I will continue to work on. What makes you most grateful???

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Band Concert Boredom

Last night was the High School band Christmas concert.....yeah!
The first year they have started band in grade 7 here and Alex loves it, seriously. and yes that is Holly`s old sax....who new we were environmentalists ;)

Maddie switched from trumpet to french horn when we moved here and is now playing in the senior band.I heart the french horn.

When you arrive three minutes before the concert starts this is the lovely view from the team benches along the back wall....yeah!

This is what bored parents do while attending their 57th school band concert.....


oh yeah and my favourite, this....

I know, bad parents!

The kids sounded  great.
Pirates of the Caribbean was played.
and yes a kid dropped their instrument.

Why yes it was the perfect band concert :)


Some days take a lot of quiet courage to get through...yesterday was one of those days.

I realized it had been several days since I had heard from my Dad, so in the morning I called and left a message on his answering machine. He called me back a few hours later....

Hey Dad how are you?
 "Robin I'm crippled."
What do you mean, Did you have a fall?
"Well yes..."
What did you hurt?
"My body"
Did you hit your head?

So even with several questions he couldn't tell me any more details...when, why, where, how....His confusion is nothing new, but falling is....

My sister also called him and was able to glean a little more information from him...a slip on the stairs.... and  felt that he was probably sore but not seriously injured...Dad refused to go to the doctor or allow anyone to check on him. Living so far away sucks.

Dad is set to travel to spend Christmas with my sister in a few days. I hope time spent with my sister will give us a better idea of what his needs are and how we might help him.

I never imagined that both our parents would have such difficult journeys as they aged. Alone and lost in a mind that can no longer find joy. The dark loneliness is something I cannot comprehend and simply brings me to tears. My daily prayer is that there will some way he will let us in to help and until then....I pray for the quiet courage I need to keep my heart from breaking.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Clean. Christmas. Crazy....

This weekend was crazy, but crazy in a good way...
A funeral in Campbell River
25 for dinner at our house
Ward Party
Concert in Port Alberni
and a Baptism back here.

The only thing that was stressful was trying to get the house ready for hosting dinner and apparently I was a wee bit cranky....although the degree to which I might have been. depends on what rug rat you ask....
None of those joining us for dinner would have cared if the house was perfect, but I cared and thought it was a great opportunity to get the house really clean.....
I wrote this on the white show the rug rats I meant business...some unnamed rug rat wrote "like that will work" :) how could they be so sarcastic? :)...... The house was perfect thanks to them and dinner was awesome. and yes I did apologize for being cranky.

On an entirely separate note:
I collect Nativity sets.
I love my Nativity sets.
The rug rats aren`t supposed to touch my Nativity sets.....

I swear they love playing with my mind!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Let's Face It

Good thing he landed on his face, otherwise he might have really hurt himself.....
Not sure, something about the monkey bars, gravity and gravel and the Kramer crash gene :)

I'm just glad it didn't require the dentist....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

O. Sew. D.

Holly got here first legit paycheck ever on Monday. I love my employed children, is that so wrong. When she got home from school she said "Mom you wanna go to Fabricland?" "Sure" Apparently they have fabric there...I had never been there on purpose before, its like Disneyland for sewing nerds. I felt overwhelmed and out of my league the minute we walked in the door....Holly walked around like she owned the joint. She wanted to get flannel to make a baby blanket for a friend of mine in the Ward, that had a little girl last week. After an hour (too many choices) she picked.....
So what does my teenage daughter spend her first hard earned money on....Fabric and a Fabricland membership. Awww my little least nobody can ever blame that on me :) It must be those crazy YW leaders she's had ;) You did a fantastic job Holly.

Here's what I'm working on....

Stockings....this is when five kids seems like alot :) Hey they're even lined, I know even I'm amazed, and I didn't even sew my finger. Now I just have to make three more...sigh

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Check -out Reality Check

Ever have a mini reality check, you know something that makes stop and reflect on your own circumstances....

Holly and I had run to get a few groceries last night. We walked the aisles and quickly grabbed what we needed and headed to the till. As we finished  unloading our items onto the belt, I noticed another mom unloading her groceries behind me.

This mom looked vaguely familiar, I'm sure our kids have attended activities in the community together....I noticed that she was trying to add up her groceries as she placed them on the belt, placing the most essential items first and telling her kids that some things were maybes...

As I gave her a friendly smile, she said "My power's been out since Thursday...they gave me $50 bucks to get just the essentials" "Oh, That's tough " I say.... It was then that I noticed she had a emergency  government voucher in her hand.... "I hope things get better for you quickly" was all I could think to say.....{I wish I had done more}

As I got in the car, I had an instant reality check....
We are blessed and blessings have nothing to do with our bank balance....

{Money has been increasingly tight for us...Now I don't mean digging in the couch cushions or selling one of the rug rats, broke, I just mean we have  had to realign our priorities, cut out my daily spa treatments and fire my personal yoga instructor :).(Now you now why I've let myself go)}

I realized many things in the minutes that followed driving home.....

I am blessed to live in a country that can provide emergency help if I was in dire need

I am blessed to belong to a church that can provide for temporal needs if necessary

But more, I realized....
We are able to provide for the needs for our family....Sometimes re-evaluating our the definition of NEED is necessary.

I am grateful for the principle of tithing....math wise it doesn't always make since, but when we pay our tithing our needs are always met. It honestly never ceases to amaze me. When people ask "how we survive?" I always say, " tithing"

In a relief society lesson a while ago I heard the phrase "Enough is as good as a feast" which continues to stick with me.

When you think you have it rough...somebody is suffering more. The best thing to do when we feel down-trodden is serve others.

The worth of a soul is never quantified by a bank balance or processions, I hope the struggling mom behind me, somehow knows that.

I am grateful for that mini reality check in the grocery store.....especially as we head into Christmas.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jazz. Hot Chocolate. Friends = AWESOME

Friday night I was sitting with a bunch of friends, in a coffee shop, sipping a fancy hot chocolate and listening to a dear friend sing jazz and Christmas standards with her amazing jazz quartet......yes, I live a blessed and charmed life. Friends. Hot Chocolate. Music. All soothing to my soul.....

We were indoctrinated with Jazz and all things music growing up....every single happy memory I have as a child involved music. Watching my dad direct the marching band at football half time, listening to my mom play hymns as she woke us up on a Sunday morning, listening to my dad captivate an audience of students and peers as he taught the intricate rhythms of jazz percussion, mom taking us to Les Mis for the first time in LA.....I learned early the power of music. The spirit of peace music brings. I learned early to seek good music to calm and sooth and provide clarity.

When Mom could no longer share her gift of Music, I mourned as hands that once glided, could no longer find middle C. And now as my dad who could once read a symphony score in his sleep, struggles to remember my name, what day it is, or his grandchildren I mourn once again....

But their love and legacy of music remain.....

So as I sat among dear friends, sipping hot chocolate, listening to music my parents taught me to love, I felt gratitude, gratitude for dear friends who are family and also happen to be insanely musically inclined and peace, peace that is still possible when you live my crazy life :)

Thanks Swing Set for soothing the soul :)


Snowballs Chance

So I came across this idea on line for a "snowball fight in a bucket". Every site was sold-out, so I thought I could make that. White felt, large cup to make a circle, black and orange scraps, batting and rice.....

Perfect homemade gift for Dallyn (sorry girls, as I am sure this will be rather annoying :)

So I wasted most of the evening making these (dinner, what dinner). But I think they turned out great for my second sewing project. Happy aiming Dallyn :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sewing Insanity

This was delievered to my door about a week ago...Apparently its a sewing machine. My first in my 19 years of marriage. I swore I would never own one, cause that would require me to sew. Something I said I would never do....But I did mention to the Superman several weeks ago that I could make this really cool thing on Pinterest if had a sewing machine....I guess he took that as a dare and surprised me with this as a late birthday, early Christmas present.....
Nothing to fancy, but I was scared to touch it. My past experiences with sewing machines have not ever been positive, my mother usually taking over after I jammed her fancy machine for the tenth time in an hour (no I would never do such a thing on purpose, would I?). So for several days I stared at my machine like a monkey doing a math problem....Then Holly decided to help me....

"You know mom, you could read the instructions" ..."But that's what I had you for"....She had the thing threaded, and running in ten minutes. And in an hour had made a make-up bag, lined and with a ZIPPER.....she actually paid attention in Home Ec....

It will take me months to work up to a zipper.
Today was my first attempt with the machine....
Felt Piggy Banks....

Don't look to close...but it will do for a first attempt

Hey Holly,  maybe I could sew your Grad Dress....what????