Saturday, June 30, 2012

Drive Thru {Me} Crazy :)

My Superman is kinda neurotic, but I have to admitt it's rather fun....

Holly, Grant and I head through the DQ drive thru,Last night, after picking up Holly from work:

Back story....

 Now after 19 years of marriage I am fully trained in the Grant Kramer drive thru protocol.... an unwritten set of rules all are  expected to abide by when ordering at a drive thru or any resteruant situation for that matter...

Rule one: Know what you want to order before one even rolls up to the speaker....if you don't say anything he will order your usual, whether you wanted that or not.

Rule Two:No Special Orders: He will say Big Mac ,  He will not say "hold the pickles" or "no lettuce" or "can you pick the seeds off my bun" Eat it as they prepare it, pick it off yourself  or starve.

Rule Three:Never talk, sneeze, laugh or burp in the car, when the superman is ordering, he will drive away, before we embarass him further....

and the most important rule of all...

Rule Four: Never, ever pay with change...he just can't do it...his eyes will roll in the back of his skull and his head will me...its rather amusing.

Last night as we pull up....I say I want a mint chip shake (he doesn't see it on the menu) and gives me the "No Special orders" glare until he spots in on the menu....Holly can't decide between a dilly bar and a peanut buster bar so Grant decides for her....and when Grant said peanut buster parfait, it sounded like he said penis buster parfait which made us laugh in hystarics...

We now have broken most of the drive thru rules,  when we pull up to the window, until Holly says, with a certain gleam in her eye... "Dad aren't you going to pay with change... We (Holly and me, for some reason Super didn't find it funny at all) can't see, much less breathe now.

It might be a while until we are forgiven for our complete drive thru contempt...We still love our Superman

Friday, June 29, 2012

Making Modesty

Soap box alert: don't bother reading this post, if you are easily offended by the critisizing of floral upholstery  ;) btw: my spell check isn't snicker away....
I looked like I was attacked by my Grandmother's couch and the lace doily on her coffee table :)

Holly was in our living room,  getting the final fitting finished on her grad dress, when another guest in our home, here for a different purpose, said....
"I can't believe you're not making her make that MORE modest ?!?"

{I felt the hairs on the back on my neck stand up}

I had an audience, so I took a deep breath and tried to choose my words carefully....

"Holly worked long and hard and saved, and paid for every penny of that dress herself...It is her dress and her decision on modesty....We are proud of her and happy to leave that choice up to her."

Our guest tried to explain the use of cardigans and I quickly changed the subject and started my meeting, the real reason we were all there in the first place.....

In all honesty I did feel the inner mother bear in me try to surface, but was surprised the comment put me on the spot, more than I was offended. As I tried to understand my feelings I realized it was not about the standards of modesty....Standards are standards (a basket ball hoop is 10 ft, regardless of which court you are playing on) and something there is no need to, nor do I have the desire to debate here....

But as a parent I have never been able to make a toddler or teenager for that matter, do anything....

As a parent I can teach, guide, help,  encourage, lead, walk beside, pursuade, bribe, and even guilt...but I cannot , nor do I have any desire to make them do anything....How can they learn for themselves if I make all their decisions for them?

We are so very proud of her and are very happy we left the decision up to her.

She looks beautiful :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our Graduate

Our trail blazer Holly graduated from High School yesterday....It was an AWESOME, sureal, JOYFUL, a teeny, tiny bit sad, FANTASTIC day.....

Watching a child, especially your child walk any where in a cap and gown brings a renewed sense of pride and joy...Watching her siblings share in her accomplishment and example a great moment.

 Just yesterday I dropped my blued-eyed baby girl off at kindergarten and today I watched her walk down the ailse in her beautiful blue gown, full of beauty and promise.

Its a priveledge having the kind of kids I do....

Who have grown into wonderful, confident, funny, happy, quirky, down to earth young adults, in spite of the wack-a-doodle parents who have raised them.

She is our leader, helper, drill sargent and friend. Who taught me to love.

Bright hope. I have no doubt that her future will be fantastic.

That's my girl!!!

Sharing the sibling love.....

The best part of a large family is watching how much they make fun of love each other :)

Holly had a very nice, brave grad date, who was gracious to all of us, cause yeah meeting the Kramer clan ain't awkward at all :)

But we look so normal :)

Ma and Pa Kramer with the graduate, so glad they could share this day with her.
Kramer partenters in crime :)

So happy for you Holly. You are simply AWESOME. We LOVE you. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Waste Away an Afternoon

Alex and I took Grandma to Goose Spit and Filberg Park to waste away an afternoon....
At the beach we watched an eagel land in the tree a couple of yards ahead of we got closer the eagle stayed put and didn't seem to mind us being there at all...
 We snapped picture after picture and the guy didn't move....its the closest I've been to an adult eagle in my AWESOME!

Goose Spit at low tide...How she can walk/run on the jagged rocks in flip flops is beyond me.... 

Filberg Park is a hidden treasure in downtown comox...Grandma had never been there before.
 Alex and the totem pole (I hope that's a fin ;))....

What a beautiful afternoon.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Wait, What? Award

"You're gonna look nice, right Mom", Alex says as she walks in my bedroom to say good bye this morning (no I hadn't gotten out of bed yet)

"Well if a hoodie, shorts and tevas count as nice, then yes?!" Alex promptly rolls her eyes at me....

She is dressed to the nines....a dress she stole borrowed from an older sister, hair perfectly straighted and curled, ballerina flats, earrings, necklace, not a detailed missed and its only 7:45 am. This can't be my offspring.

Its grade 7 "grad" today and apparently is kind of a big deal...

I got an email and a phone call last week telling I needed to attend.... Alex was getting some kind of award (they did not say what the award was for). Award ceremonies are right up there with band concerts for me, but I promised I would go and behave myself.

"Alex this award better be worth it !" I told her this morning...."Mom!!!"

Holly and I went to support Alex (Alex asked Holly to keep me in line and make sure I didn't embarrass her)....

Alex received her grad certificate and then we waited and waited and waited ....Alex's name was finally announced for the "All Around Student " Award  (best in Citizenship, Academics and Athletics)...."Wow!!! This can't be my child!"  Okay Alex I guess that's good enough and worth the claustrophobia and agoraphobia ;)

So very proud of her. Way to go Alex.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

C. Homeschooling....

I can't believe I'm even considering it.....

A. Never shaving again

B. Becoming a vegan

C. Home schooling

A. maybe...B. never....C. well... yes

I know, weird eh? And all those years I made fun of homeschoolers!?! ;)

Well and let me clarify....Its one child, and its one year and its kind of half conventional school and half home school...But I think its best for a said child of mine...

Said child has had a really rough year at school...(and I am under no false assumptions that said child is an easy student, just sayin')

For many reasons really....I knew the student-teacher match was probably not the right one, early on, but I have never requested a teacher change and have always felt that learning to work with all people is a life skill...That was simply the wrong decision.

In fairness our family has been through a challenging year....It has affected our kids, but mostly I have not been as checked in when it comes to home work, assignments etc....I've let a lot of things slide...

The teachers job action has greatly affected parent teacher communication and made a tough situation harder....

I received an email from the teacher last week asking me to make sure said child handed in a missing assignment....I apologized for not being on top of things, briefly explained we'd had a challenging year and said the child would be reminded, but ultimately responsible.....

When the said child came in the door , lets just say, we had a discussion. Said child was positive that the work was handed in. ....

The teacher's reply email sympathized and said she was aware of my difficult year, but included a laundry list of other issues and further missing assignments...sigh....

 Assignments said child again was positive were already handed in.

The following day I receive an email stating that all but one of the assignments had been found in the teacher's files and the missing assignment was a work sheet said student didn't receive because he was absent....SIGH...

Frustration. I am all over holding my kids accountable, it is their homework and their responsibility...but when they have been completely honest with me and I have given them crap and doubted them, unfairly...Its hard to undo....Especially...for a kid who has struggled and struggled and struggled all year....

"Mom, please home school me next year! I hate school" Said kid has said several times over the last few months...

So we are now looking at all our options for next year and chalking this year up to a year full of lessons :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Those Hands

Those Hands

Those hands taught me to find middle C
and the volumes spoken by the middle finger :)

Those are the hands that would steal the bacon off my breakfast plate
and years later save my bacon.

Those hands built endless sand castles
and showed the bridges built by a simple hand shake.

Those are the hands that beat perfect jazz rhythms
, but loved people`s imperfections

 Those hands I held while learning to walk
and those are the hands I held to say goodbye. 

Those are my father`s hands.

I love you, Dad.

I know tomorrow will be hard, firsts always are. But I am determined to honour him by finding the funny and happy in the day. :)

I Like Big Bikes

The Superman informed me at 11:45 pm , last night that he (we) had to represent the management team at a charity event at 8:30 am this morning....Clearly he (we) need to work on our communication skills. He swears he already told me.

 He (we) got to ride the Big Bike for the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. So he (we) can now cross the "must ride a 30 person bike" off his (my) bucket list :)
 It was much harder than it first appeared. Even on a relatively flat course. We rode about 2 km from the Comox mall to St Joe's Hospital and back.

Pedal it Superman! Pedal!

Didn't quite make the last turn into the parking lot and had to back up :)

Way to go Courtenay Wal-Mart, for raising just under $1600 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Must See {Talk}

A high school friend posted this BYU devotional this morning....

Brad Wilcox, His Grace is Sufficient

Take the 30 minutes to watch it, NOW, I'm serious!!!

I remember Brother Wilcox from my summers at EFY, he is still an awesome speaker, this is an amazing talk!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Celebrating Babies

Two of my friends, who are even awesome-er than I am (they home school AND have three-times as many children as I do between the two of them) Were both expecting girls the same week.....

I thought it would be fun to have a combined baby shower for them. In my new beautiful back yard....

Well one little girl, surprised everyone by actually being a Samuel and caused a few last minute changes in the decor and the beautiful back yard was enjoyed by no one, cause it POURED..... but sa la vie :)

We discovered that our living room will hold 28 people before claustrophobia kicks in.... Its always fun to celebrate the birth of a baby, whether they are the first or seventh and eighth (respectively)....
It was a lot of fun...spoiling Samuel and Sirena and their amazing mothers :)

My Superman and offspring have all informed me that I am not allowed to have another function at Casa de Kramer until I get professional help for my OCCD {obsessive compulsive cleaning disorder}....Apparently I get rather cranky crazy about having a perfect house if people are coming over....Okay I will acknowledge a slight increase in my nuttiness but a full blown disorder is  stretching it, darlings :)

Its totally a self imposed expectation, all those attending are my friends and none of them would report me to the RS president if my napkins aren't coordinated, but I can't stop myself (it is a disorder isn't it) Sorry kids, but sharing my home with my friends will always be worth it :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rag Quilts

This was last weeks attempt at keeping my sanity....Rag Quilts.
Relatively easy, the hardest part was clipping the edges and yes I bought the spring loaded scissors AFTER I was finished. Might I recommend buying them before hand. My hand looked like a pterodactyl's for a day after :)

Seminary, Not Cemetery :)

There are some moments as a parent when your heart is proud, not in a prideful way, but its a joy that comes when a kid accomplishes something that took hard work. This weekend was one of those moments....
Holly graduated from seminary {an scripture study class that meets before school each day}.

As first-time seminary parent I dreaded the start of what I perceived as, a four year early morning fight to get a teenager out of bed....I was so wrong, It was never a fight (I know we were lucky). It didn't take more than a few days to realize what a blessing seminary was for our family....

I remember a meeting with the students, parents and teachers before Holly`s first year....Sister VH shared a message about doing hard things in life, but with hard things come great and good blessings...That message has always stuck with me, its true in life not just seminary....

Being a parent that doesn`t drive and with the Superman working graveyards until this year, made for some interesting challenges in getting kids there. But it always worked out. Holly`s first year my friend drove Holly every day, even when her daughter was unable to attend....The last three years there has been carpool chaos...but where there is a will there is a way.

Seminary is great. Thankfully Holly has taken her time much more seriously than I did as a seminary student 20 years ago....I called it "Cemetery". and rarely participated in class,{if I didn't go, my mom removed all weekend privileges} a reflection on where I was at the time and not on my seminary teachers....But as a parent I knew seminary was an opportunity I didn't want my kids to miss.

So thank you, thank you, thank you for all those who have made seminary possible for our family.
And Holly Way.To.Go!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"My Phone Has Superpowers!!"

Holly comes in the door late last night, after work and says "Have you seen my cell phone?!?" "No, how could you lose it, you never set it down?"...

 Holly is now ran-sacking the house looking for her precious life-line. I'm just annoyed that the commotion is interrupting my TV watching (good mom eh?) and thinking "well that will teach her to take better care of stuff" (lessons are good, right? especially if I am not the one to inflict them :))

About ten minutes into the frantic search, Madison appears and says...."My friend has a picture of your phone posted on Face book???..." She found it on Malahat Drive.????

I knew I left it on top of the car!!!! Holly now reveals.

How to not wreck your cell phone:

Holly sets her phone on the top of the car.

Forgets said phone.

Numb skull Holly drives away.

Phone goes for a joyride for two miles.

Phone falls off car on Malahat Drive.

Maddie's very honest friend finds said phone.

Posts it on FB

5 Hours later Holly claims phone

Phone is completely unharmed.

Yay!?! Holly can continue to avoid paying attention in English and post pictures like this to FB


"Holly what have we learned here???"...."My phone has superpowers!!!"

So grateful for life's lessons. {apply great sarcasm}

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Today, I Miss Him

{This picture, at the Nixion Presidential Library, always makes me laugh,
Dad was a die-hard democrat, but called Richard Nixion's birthplace home for 40 years,
I think he jumped for joy the day Nixion was impeeched}

It doesn't make a lot of sense, but today I'm really missing my Dad...I've tried to talk myself out of it all morning, I don't want my heart to hurt today. But the more I try to ignore it, the closer the tears seem to the surface...
I miss the 17 phone calls a day, the notes written on sheet music or programs in his distinctive all caps style, even the same three questions "How are: me-the kids-the weather?  But most of all I miss his "I love you too's"
{Kelli found this is Dad's home, a painting of Dad,
done by one of his music students}

It's life's quiet days that are the hardest....The last few weeks of crazy have been a blessing. But grief is a journey one cannot avoid forever. So today I will miss him, and let the tears come.

A quote taken from this Deseret News article

We solemnly declare that death is just another step in the plan and that we will, one day, be reunited with our loved ones.
However, this doesn’t mean we don’t mourn the loss of ones so special to us. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “…hope stands quietly with us at funerals. Our tears are just as wet, but not because of despair. Rather, they are tears of heightened appreciation evoked by poignant separation” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 61).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Newsflash: Most Embarrassing Mother Ever!

Newsflash....As of this very moment, I am the world's...Most. Embarrassing. Mother. Ever....I never imagined I would achieve such an accomplishment before forty

First of all I'd like to thank my role models out there,(you know who you are) Crazy mothers unite! I would have never made it this far without you...

Second I would like to thank my children who took 5 IQ points (each) and my bladder control with them. Both aspects have contributed nicely to my ability to embarrass, sometimes without even trying. (Laughing and sneezing are always  pretty dangerous)

Third I would like to thank my Merrill gene pool...Inheriting the inappropriate humour gene has been a blessing that has allowed me to reach such an early honour....

Holly our starter child and proof the two negatives equal a positive, graduates from high school in three weeks. I can't believe it! (The I have a HS grad part, not the accomplishment) Holly walked in the door today and in all seriousness said "Now Mom, you can't embarrass me at grad, I'M SERIOUS!!!...

WHAT?!? Ever do you mean???

"I should make you sign a contract, seriously!" Holly continues. "Come on, I'm not that bad!?" I retort...
An instant triple eye roll, by all High School rug rats, who have now jumped on the {our mother shouldn't be seen in public} band-wagon.

I need a contract?...

"Come on, a contract?1?"....

Mom you're not aloud to talk, at all--No "wait, do that again" camera shots--No baby stories
and absolutely NO dancing (not even the running man?)....

I stopped her, it was apparent that this exercise could go on for hours...

"Am I that embarrassing??"

Okay maybe suggesting she could take "Fernando (he has been named) the Flamingo" as a date was too far? or that the Superman and I could go in matching t-shirts that say "Team HOLLY"??

Mom, you are the most embarrassing parent ever!!!

My work here is done:)

 Fine, as my grad gift to you,  I will might take duct tape, But you have my word :)

{cause  a mom with duct tape over her mouth at a grad ceremony isn't embarrassing at all now is it.}

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A West Coast Baptism

We gained a brand new member of our ward tonight.....Christine was baptized in the ocean at Fanny Bay. Living on the west coast affords us some pretty neat opportunities. The beauty all around us added to the joy and quiet peace we all felt.

Such a special evening.